New Mast Car
01 December 2008 | Nanny Cay Marina, Tortola, BVIs
Pic: A bearded self portrait at the top of the mast.
Google Earth Position: 18 25.476N, 64 37.112W
As outlined on Day 9 of our passage, many things broke on our voyage south. Once "The Moms" left we hunkered down in Nanny Cay Marina on the south side of Tortola to get our boat back into shape.
The most immediate concern was the broken mast car. Both Davis Murray and I had been hoisted to the top of the 60 foot mast to inspect the track, which appeared to have some scaring. Thankfully we (he) concluded that a new mast car with a different height for the halyard attachment would allow the car to sit on a clean part of the track, thus eliminating the need to take the entire mast off the boat. What could have been a several thousand-dollar repair turner out to be only $130. This was by far the best news we had heard in weeks.
Although elated by the cheaper fix to the problem, I was thoroughly disappointed to find two additional mast car pins in the boat's spare parts bin. This indicated that the problem wasn't a new one, it had definitely occurred before. While I was relieved to know that we had not actually caused the problem in our own neglect, it was disheartening to know that the issue could have been avoided completely. One of the two previous owners was aware of this problem, but had not decided to share that when selling the boat. As a result, I almost had to climb the mast in 20 knot seas to bring the sail down, which could have been extremely dangerous if not life threatening. Thankfully the cost of the repair was minimal and climbing the mast at sea was avoided.
One interesting side note to the experience was our interaction with the local Fed-Ex office. As there is only one Fed-Ex location for the entire country the address is simply: "Fed-Ex, Tortola." Given this simple address you would think it difficult to screw up a delivery then, but for some inexplicable reason the Fed-Ex office was moved one day and they never thought to put up a note up in the window of the old office that provided their new location. That would be too obvious or easy, I suppose. Instead we had to scour the town in a taxi until we ran into it - only to find it closed on Saturdays. Even if you pay for priority mail, you have to wait two days for the office to open on Monday.
Life isn't easy in the islands. If you expect anything to be easy or quick you will drive yourself insane. The "Island Time" mentality is certainly alive and well down here...