02/07/2016, Prickly Bay Marina, Grenada
Yesterday, I presented the first part of the history of Grenada. As you could see, the "ownership" of the island was based on a series of violent takeovers first by the Carib people ousting the Arawaks people in the 13th century only to have the Carib people ousted by the French in the 17th century. The takeovers were brutal with many bloody battles and murders and tortures being common. A typical case of men being cruel to men who hold different values. Some things never change...
The take overs continued but this time it was the British's turn. Grenada was captured by the British during the Seven Years' War on 4 March 1762 by Commodore Swanton. However, this time with the French being so outnumbered, the takeover was nonviolent as no shots were fired. Grenada was formally ceded to Britain by the Treaty of Paris on 10 February 1763.
In 1766 the island was rocked by a severe earthquake that had as its epicenter at a location near Antiqua. It had a magnitude greater than 8. Most masonry buildings were totally destroyed on the island and the island's economy was severely impacted as islanders struggled to survive. To get an idea of the devastation that such an earthquake could cause back in this era, you can read the account of the 1690 earthquake which had a similar magnitude and epicenter by clicking on this hyperlink: Eyewitness Account
The result of the poor conditions on Grenada caused by the earthquake, in turn, led to a bloody slave uprising in 1767. It was successfully put down. In 1771 and again in 1775 the town of St. George, which was constructed solely of wood, was burnt to the ground - after which it was rebuilt using stone and brick. This was a hard time for those who lived on the island.
During a portion of the American Revolutionary War the French were able to return to Grenada in force resulting in the capitulation of the few British forces stationed there. A British relief force was defeated in the naval Battle of Grenada on 6 July 1779. However, the Treaty of Versailles in 1783 restored the island to the British crown.
What followed was a time of prosperity which saw the expansion of sugar and cotton plantation growing rapidly. The dark side of this prosperity was the fact that what accounted for the growth in economic conditions on the island was the rapid increase of slaves to work the plantations. In fact, Grenada became a major location where the slave ships arriving from Africa would stop to sell their human cargo. Between 1784 and 1792 Grenada imported over 13,500 slaves and exported over 31,000 more to the other islands and into the United States.
The rather prejudicial rule of the British, who were still stinging from the loss of the American colonies with the French's help, resulted in non-British people (e.g., French Catholics, mulattos and free blacks) to be banned from holding a government office, voting and, basically being relegated to a second and third class citizenship. The result of this unwise governance by the British resulted in a slave revolt called Fedon's Rebellion. Julien Fedon was actually the owner of Belvedere Estate. As you may recall, this was the plantation that Mary Margaret and I explored last week.
Fedon was the son of a French jeweler and a free black former slave and was born in Martinique. The family moved to Grenada in the 1750s, when the island was under French rule. In Grenada, Fedon married Marie Rose Cavelan, a mulatto, in 1787 and they settled on a plantation in Saint John Parish known as the Belvedere Estate.
Fedon began his revolt in Grenada on the night of March 2, 1795. The purpose of the revolt was to abolish slavery, grant citizenship to former slaves, and overthrow British colonial rule, returning power to the French people. With the help of around 100 freed slaves and mulattoes, Fedon fought against the island's landlords and white British settlers and shop owners.
The rebels' attacks were coordinated against the villages of Grenville and Gouyave. They looted and burned houses and dragged British settlers into the streets to be executed. After returning to the mountains of Belvedere, the rebels joined a large group of slaves who had abandoned the plantations where they worked. In the mountains, Fedon built several fortifications to withstand British attacks.
During the rebellion, about 14,000 of the 28,000 slaves on Grenada at the time were allied to the revolutionary forces; some 7,000 of them were killed. Many French people who had seen Grenada ceded to the British in 1763 joined as well, along with some French Catholics who had been excluded from civil and political rights because of their religion and wanted to oust the British.
On April 8, 1796, a brother of Fedon died in a British attack. To avenge the death of his brother, Fedon ordered the execution of 48 of the 53 prisoners he was holding on the mountain, including Governor Ninian Home.
From their base in the mountains, Fedon's rebels were able to control the whole island except for St. George Parish, the seat of government. Their attack on St. George failed, and historians consider this the source of the rebellion's eventual defeat. Also, on many occasions, Fedon allowed the British to regroup and gain strength without launching an attack.
The day after the failed attack on St. George, the forces of Fedon were defeated on the steep hills and ridges near Mt. Qua Qua. The few surviving rebels flung themselves down the mountain. Fedon was never captured, and his whereabouts after the revolt are unknown. Some historians believe he tried to flee the island by canoe, which may have sunk.
After the rebellion was put down, the British remained in control of Grenada but tensions remained high until slavery was abolished in 1834. In 1877 Grenada became a Crown Colony, which lasted until 1967 when it became an associated state within the British Commonwealth.
The History of Grenada to be continued tomorrow.
02/06/2016, Prickly Bay Marina, Grenada
At each place we sail to and end up spending some time exploring, I like to research its history and present it on our blog. Chalk it up to some historical gene in my make-up. Well, today I present what I have been able to dig up so far regarding Grenada.
Grenada, as with most of the Caribbean, was first inhabited by the Arawak people. They are thought to have migrated from the central Amazon region making their way north via Guyana, Venezuela and Trinidad. They eventually habited the greater part of the Caribbean.
Starting around the beginning of the 13th century, the Lesser Antilles (including Grenada) were invaded by the Carib people. They migrated to the north, coming from the Orinoco River basin in Venezuela. The Carib Indians were renowned for their fierceness and war-like culture. They rapidly displaced the most peaceful inhabiting Arawak people through battles at each of the Lower Antilles islands they moved to. By 1498, when Christopher Columbus sailed by Grenada during his third voyage, the island was dominated by the Caribs.
As an aside, the islands which make up the eastern Caribbean archipelago are called a number of names. These include the West Indies, the Lesser Antilles and the Windward and Leeward Island groups. Grenada, being one of the southernmost islands in this chain, falls within the Windward Island group but is also part of the West Indies and the Lesser Antilles.
The Caribs continued to inhabit Grenada and repulsed European attempts of settlement for the next 150 years. This included a group of English settlers who came on April 1, 1609 in three ships: the Diana, the Penelope, and the Endeavour with 200 adventurers led by Mossis Goldfry. Soon after the settlement was established it was attacked and destroyed by the Carib islanders and many of the settlers were killed and tortured. The 24 survivors were evacuated when the ships returned on 15 December 1609.
In 1638 a French group led by M. Poincy attempted to settle in Grenada but were beaten off by the Caribs on the island before the erstwhile settlers could even land.
In 1650, the governor of Martinique (Jacques Du Parquet) who wanted to expand French domination of the Lesser Antilles, arrived in Grenada with 300 soldiers. He soon reached an agreement with the local Chief: in exchange for goods, Du Parquet, was able to stay on the island and clear land for crops. These soon turned into small settlements, and Du Parquet returned to Martinique leaving his cousin Jean Le Comte (governor 1649 - 1654) in charge of Grenada. At this time Du Parquet bought Grenada, Martinique, and St. Lucia from the Company of the American Islands, a French charter company, which was dissolved, for the equivalent of about $1,600US.
With the number of French soldiers on the island greatly reduced with Du Parquet's departure, hostilities between the Caribs and the French broke out almost immediately. There were many battles fought, one giving rise to the legend of 'Le Morne de Sauteurs' or 'Leapers' Hill', where a group of Caribs had been cornered and they leaped over the cliff edge to their deaths rather than surrender.
Eventually after more raids, Le Comte and his army burnt the Carib houses and fields and destroyed their boats so they couldn't leave the island or go for help. After Le Comte's death in 1654, he was replaced by Louis Cacqueray de Valminière, who brought on an army of 100 to protect the settlers against Carib raids.
In 1657 du Parquet had enough of the warring Caribs and decided to sell his holdings in Grenada, St. Lucia and Martinque. He sold Grenada to the Comte de Cerrillac for the equivalent of $2,400 US. Under the new ownership very harsh conditions were placed on the Inhabitants and they revolted, placing the tyrant under arrest. After a trial, he was condemned to death. However, I cannot find any information as to whether the sentence was carried out or not. I was able to read some old archived sources which said that most of those who served during the trial left the island and those that did stay melted into obscurity to avoid any reprisals.
1664, King Louis XIV bought out the independent island owners and established the French West India Company. In 1674 the French West India Company was dissolved. Proprietary rule ended in Grenada, which became a French colony as a dependency of Martinique. In 1675, Dutch privateers captured Grenada, but a French man-of-war arrived unexpectedly and recaptured the island.
The settlement began to grow, and soon the most of the Caribs either had left, died or remained on the borders of island life. More settlers arrived, and by 1753, there were around 100 indigo, tobacco, coffee, cocoa and sugar plantations and up to 12,000 slaves in Grenada.
More on the history of Grenada tomorrow!
02/05/2016, Prickly Bay Marina, Grenada
Well, I guess it is official. My lifemate and I are officially old! Yep, while it is hard for us to admit it, since we both seem so young in our hearts, we are now officially old. I write this because today we received a call from the US Social Security Administration (SSA). I had suspected that they might call us so for the last few days I have been leaving our Skype phone on, which we seldom do. You see, a few days ago we both submitted our applications to start drawing our retirement benefits. Gulp!
We were going to delay our applications until I turned 66 this May when I was going to file and suspend my application until I turned 70.5 years old while Mary Margaret was going to file on her 66th birthday (next year) for spousal benefits. This plan of action was going to maximize the amount we would be getting from SSA during rest of our lives. However, the law was changed last November such that I can no longer file and suspend my application. Bummer.
We have a really neat software package to play a series of "what if" games to determine what we should do and when we should do it to maximize our SSA retirement benefits during the rest of our lives. It is called Maximize My Social Security (clever name, eh?) and the license to use it is $40 a year. It is well worth the money since the SSA rules and requirements are so complicated that it is difficult to determine what one should do regarding claiming one's Social Security retirement benefits.
With the recent change in the law, we can still achieve just about the same amount of annual and lifetime retirement benefit amounts but we now have to follow a different application strategy. We are now having Mary Margaret apply for her retirement benefits while I file for spousal benefits. Then, I will file for my retirement benefits in May 2020, the year I turn 70 and, at that time, Mary Margaret will file for spousal benefits. We would have never figured this out without the help of this software package...
Anyway, the SSA person who called to go over our applications with us said that Mary Margaret first check will be backdated to last month and will arrive shortly while my first check will start in May. Yea!
I am sharing this with you just in case some of you may be thinking about your Social Security retirement benefits and when to start drawing them. We both highly recommend that you look into this neat software package to help you decide when you should apply and to determine how much you can receive under different retirement planning scenarios.
Now, back to the continuation of our very exciting list of retrofit projects...
I left off yesterday with project number 17, so I will pick up from there:
18. Replace The Old Dorade Boxes. These are ventilation scoops that funnel cool air into the main guest suite and our suite while keeping any rain or ocean water out.
19. Install A Master Switch For Switching Between 120 Volts And 240 Volts. Our boat is wired for 120 volts. When we are in a marina that supplies 240 Volts we use our isolation transformer to step down the 240 volts to 120 volts. We are currently configured for this because for the last 6 years we have sailing in that part of the world which relies of 240 volt for their supply current. The 120 volt lead-in wiring was just left unconnected when this happened. I was never happy with having unused wiring just left unconnected. I would like to see if some sort of switching system can be install where I can throw a switch to change from 120 volts to 240 volts or vice versa, depending on what the marina supplies.
20. Install A Permanent 12 Volt Socket For The Portable Freezer. To make moving the portable freezer more convenient, I would like to install a 12 volt socket in the v-berth suite. This is where we keep the portable freezer.
21. Install The Go Antenna On Our Arch. We are very impressed with the Iridium Go and need to permanently mount its antenna onto our arch which holds our solar panels, wind generator and VHF antenna. I have temporarily mounted it on our deck.
22. Re-run The VHF Antenna Wire. I wish to have this wire fully hidden and out of the way. To do this I need to run it through the inside of the stainless steel tubing of the stern arch.
23. Replace The Springs On A Few Of Our Hatch Shades. A couple of hatch shades have springs that have failed. To roll them up and down I need to replace the broken springs.
24. Replace The Gas Pistons On The Forward Lazarette Cover. This is a massive cover that needs two new gas filled pistons to keep it up when opened.
25. Replace The Head Sail Furling System. This is another expensive item here in the southern part of the Caribbean. The current one failed while crossing the Atlantic and it needs replacing. Approximate cost $4,200US.
26. Replace The Topping Lift Sheave. This pulley is located near the top of the mast and it has some bearings which have failed.
27. Install Our New EPIRB. Our crew last year destroyed our old EPIRB by accidentally setting it off as we crossed the Atlantic. We need to permanently mount the new replacement emergency beacon.
28. Untwist Our Anchor Chain. Somehow, the last 100 feet of our anchor chain has become twisted. It needs to be pulled out and be untwisted by hand.
29. Look Into Replacing The Auto Pilot Ram and Motor. This has been a great unit but it has a lot of hours on it after sailing around the world these last 8 years. It is time to replace it before it dies during one of our next oceanic crossings.
30. Inspect And Restore The Stereo Remote Control. I believe the connection plug has come lose and needs to be inspected and reconnected so we can control the stereo from the helm.
31. Replace The Magnet Used By The Windlass Chain Counter. The existing magnetic has rusted out and the counter can no long sense it as the gypsy rotates. The counter then turns the windlass off after just a few seconds. A new magnet should such solve the problem.
32. Replace Hand-Held VHF Radio. One of our two hand-held VHF radios has died. It is time to replace it.
33. Repair Helm VHF Radio Speaker. This speaker has been problematic due to bad wiring. Or, at least, that is what I think. I need to inspect the wiring and troubleshoot it to find the problem and fix it.
34. Replace Spinnaker Head Block. This block failed while dousing the spinnaker when the winds hit us one day last year. It needs replacing.
35. Repair Traveler End Cars. The sheaves on both end cars need replacing.
36. Replace Starboard Side Emergency Hatch. This hatch has started leaking. Its aluminum frame has warped a bit due to the pounding it has taken over the years.
37. Replace The Owner's Shower Seat. The wood on our shower seat is showing its age. It is time to replace it.
38. Haul Out The Boat And Inspect All Thru-hull Fittings. We have noticed that one fitting is starting to leak. We need to replace it and evaluate all of the fittings.
There you have it. A massive list of projects that we will need to complete before leaving the Caribbean. It is probably more than you ever cared about but the list gives you some insight as to what expect if you ever decided to live the life of a blue water sailor.
02/04/2016, Prickly Bay Marina, Grenada
A couple of days ago I promised that I would share the list of retrofit projects we are hoping to complete this year. They all will need to be done to make Leu Cat blue water safe for our planned crossing over to the Med next year. Originally, we were hoping to sail to the Med this year but we know our list of projects will not be done by May, which is the best time to make the crossing. Thus, we will bide our time this year doing retrofit projects, interspersed with fun sailing jaunts to explore parts of the West Indies we have missed so far, along with revisiting some of our favorites haunts. Additionally, we have our son and his wife, David Paul and Allison, coming to visit us in early March for 10 days and hope to have our eldest daughter, Heather, come sometime in May. Maybe some other of our friends will also come for a visit. That would be neat!
Alright, now for the retrofit project list. I will list each item and offer a description of the work to be done:
1. Replace The Xantrex Battery Charger/Inverter. This is one of the more expensive items on the list. Our friend, John, of S/V Orcinius, has recommended to us that we stay away from the new Xantrex Freedom series chargers. He has had to replace a couple of the ones he has installed due to overheating. He says that the newer models just are not as good as the older ones. He recommended we turn to Mastervolt for our replacement. This recommendation struck home to me as I got to know the Mastervolt equipment pretty well while in South Africa and was very impressed. Thus, I will be following his recommendation. I will also be upgrading the size of the charger. We had been using a 2000Watts/100Amps unit. I am ordering the Mastervolt 4000Watts/200Amps charger/inverter. While I do not need that much wattage out of the inverter, our gel batteries can easily handle the increase in amps that this charger will put out, which in turn will decrease the time it will take in running the generator to charge up the batteries. Cost of the unit is about $4100US plus about $1000US for shipping and Customs. With luck, we should have it installed in two to three weeks from now.
2. Replace The Isolator On The Starboard Side. This was done yesterday using the spare isolator we had on the boat. The old isolator had blown some diodes and was reducing the output of the starboard engine alternator by about 50%.
3. Replace Both Starter Batteries. I ran over to Budget Marine chandlery this morning to buy them but was told I will have to come back in a week. At that time, their shipment will be in and I can buy them then. Such waiting on parts and supplies is one of the frustrating issues one faces while cruising.
4. Work On The Onan Generator. The cooling water throughput is less than optimum; resulting in early impeller failure and the unit turning off before it overheats. I need to determine why this is happening and address the problem. It could be a thru-hull blockage, a loose hose clamp somewhere along the input water hose allowing air to enter the system, a partial blockage in the heat exchanger or something else that troubleshooting guide does not mention (i.e., a failing water pump?). Also, the annual maintenance work needs to be done and I need to replace the fuel pump which is starting to corrode.
5. Kiss Wind Generator. Remount, hookup and test the unit. I had it worked on while back in the US to maximize its performance.
6. Replace Our Dinghy. Another expensive item. Our Walker Bay dinghy, which we love so much, is dying. The Indonesia boat boys ripped the hull near the transom and the makeshift repairs that I have been doing to keep the water out are no longer working as well as I would like. This will cost around $5,000US once I can get to a dealer here in the Caribbean.
7. Masthead Tri-light. During our crossing I noticed that the light was not fully functional. It needs to inspected, repaired or replaced.
8. Replace The Fresh Water Pressure pump. While the pump is working nicely, it is getting old and the housing is fairly corroded. I would like to replace it this year before it fails during a crossing. It keeps the pressure up in our fresh water lines.
9. Inspect/Replace The Deck Wash Pump. Similar to the fresh water pump, this pump is working fine but its housing is showing some significant corrosion after 8 years of use. It is time to replace it before it fails in a remote anchorage.
10. Replace The Hull Mounted Zinc Anodes. These are starting to show their wear after 8 years of sailing around the world and staying in different marinas with the electrolysis issues each marina presents. While they could last a few more years, I will change them when we haul out this season.
11. Spectra Watermaker. It is time to replace the membrane of this unit. It is getting harder and harder to make fresh water because the old membrane is starting to fail after 8 years of heavy usage.
12. Replace The Two Life Rings. Each of the life rings we have mounted on the boat are showing their age. It is now time to replace them.
13. Service Our Lifeboat. It has been 5 years since the last time our lifeboat was inspected and serviced. It is time to do it again.
14. Replace The Port Swim Ladder Cover. We lost this cover during a storm and heavier seas during our Atlantic crossing last year. It needs to be replaced.
15. Yanmar Saildrives. There are a number of issues with our saildrives that we need to address. These include replacing the rubber diaphragms which keep the water into our boat through the thru-hulls. These are supposed to be replaced every 6 to 8 years and now is the time to do it. There are two diaphragms for each of the two saildrives. The oil seals are leaking and need to be replaced. The water seals which keep the seawater from entering the saildrive needs replacing. They are only good for two years. The fluid in each saildrive needs to be replaced. A new water sensor on the starboard saildrive needs replacing.
16. Clean Saildrive Bilges. They have collected some oil from the leaking seals and this waste oil needs to be removed.
17. Yanmar Engines. The normal annual maintenance work needs to be done.
This is just the first part of our extensive retrofit project list. I will continue with the project list tomorrow.
02/03/2016, Prickly Bay Marina, Grenada
Stephen Welsh (+1-473-406-1800), the electrician we had requested to come to our boat, arrived this morning armed with his case of meters, monitors and tools. His mission was to track down the sources of our electrical issues. When he arrived, he sat down with Mary Margaret and me and listened to our history of recent issues and our thoughts of what the sources were. We basically told him we thought we had a failing battery charger which was putting out a poor imitation of a rectified sine wave, a bad starter battery and a battery isolator with failed diodes.
Armed with this information, he started his analysis by testing our various systems. It took three hours but he concluded that our port side starter battery had failed which also drained the starboard side starter battery. They were linked while we gone so both could be on a float charging status while we were gone to the US. Also, his testing showed that while the starboard battery was still working, it had been damaged by the draw down caused by the port side starter battery and it also should be replaced.
He also concurred with our analysis of the battery charger and recommended that it should be replaced. With his recommendation, he suggested a person we should contact if we wanted to replace it while we are in Grenada. I had been trying to order a new one in Trinidad so it would be there upon our arrival but after 4 weeks of trying using emails and phone calls, I have decided that we will just order it here and be done with it. It may take a few weeks for it to arrive.
Stephen also concurred with our supposition on the bad battery isolator on the starboard of the boat. This unit distributes the current generated by the starboard engine's alternator and directs it to both the starter battery on that side of the boat and to the house batteries. We have been having a significantly reduced current output from the starboard alternator when compared to the port engine alternator. The blown diodes in the starboard isolator were the reason. Fortunately, I had a spare isolator on board so by the time Stephen was through, it was up and working and the starboard alternator was putting out its normal amount of current. Yea!
The cost of Stephen's efforts: $180 US. The result: peace of mind knowing that we will be right as rain once we replace the two starter batteries and the new battery charger is installed.
Tomorrow, I will take the dinghy over to the Budget Marine chandlery on the other side of the bay to buy two new starter batteries. Then I can start making new arraignments to replace the head sail furling systems.
02/02/2016, Prickly Bay Marina, Grenada
We spent the day getting Leu Cat seaworthy so we could motor over to the other side of Prickly Bay tomorrow morning to have our head sail furling system installed. Mary Margaret and I unwrapped and removed our head sail so the rigger could immediately get to the head stay and the old furling system, then we carefully folded the head sail to prevent any rips or tears from happening. Next we moved over to the stern where we dropped the dinghy and lowered the outboard from its stand on the stern rail onto the dinghy. We then installed the fuel tank, connected it to the outboard and fired it up. It started on the first pull and purred like a kitten. However, it did smoke a lot for a while as it burned off the oil I had injected into the cylinders to prevent any rust from forming while we were gone.
So far, so good. I then moved on to the windlass where I needed to install a new magnet into the base of its gypsy. A gypsy on a windlass is that part which engages the links of the anchor chain and moves the chain so that it can either raise or lower the anchor. The old magnet had rusted out and needed to be replaced. The chain counter uses that magnet to mark each turn the gypsy makes, translating the number of turns into feet of chain being pulled in or pulled out. If the chain counter does not detect the magnet on each turn, the dumb thing stops working and shuts down the entire windlass. One would think that it would just stop measuring the amount of chain going up or down but still allow the gypsy to turn. Nope, not this one. It allows the gypsy to go around 4 times and then, if it does not detect the magnet during those revolutions, it shuts down the whole system. The result is you are left to raise or lower the anchor by hand. Grrrrrrrrr. I hate bad designs.
Once I had replaced the magnet and remounted the gypsy, I went to turn on the port engine. That engine needs to be on as it provides the electricity to the windlass. I turned on the key and ... nothing happened. That was strange because I had left the battery switch on so that the shore power could keep the house batteries and both starter batteries fully charged.
I ran down to the guest suite and lifted the floor boards to inspect the port starter battery. Armed with my multi-meter I checked the starter battery's volt and discovered that it was completely flat. The meter registered 0 volts. I applied the meter to one of the house batteries and it read 13.6 volts. Thus, I knew my meter was working. I then ran over to our suite on the starboard side of the boat and lifted the floor board that is over the starter batter for the starboard engine. It too read 0 volts. Hmmm, what was going on?
Having one starter battery go dead on you is something that happens once every 4 or 5 years. Having both go out on you at the same time is very uncommon and is highly suggestive of something else going on with the electrical system. I suspect that it has something to do with our battery charger/inverter. We know that it is in the process of failing and it was the source of a number of issues we had to deal with when we were crossing the Atlantic last fall.
When we stopped at Ascension Island the electrician there told us that the problems we were having sounded to him like one or more of the diodes in the battery charger had failed. This was the reason the charger was only putting out about half of the amps that it was supposed to. One of our fellow Lagoon 440 owners, John, the skipper of SV Orcinius, also emailed me saying that he had a similar problem with his Xantrex Freedom battery charger/inverter. He wrote: "more likely it has lost some of its capability to charge the batteries using a full wave rectified DC (i.e. lost part of its diodes and control for making DC) so it is half wave rectified. This is OK for the batteries and they will charge just fine but not so well for the Raymarine or any one else's electronics. It is like feeding AC to a DC circuit." Thus, based on John's insight, I am betting that the problems we have had with our Raymarine chart plotter and with the Raymarine Fluxgate compass and the Raymarine autopilot were all tied to our failing Xantrex battery charger. It is sort of funny now that I look on it. The battery charger was failing, thus not charging the batteries as much as it should have, it was putting out a bad sine wave of electricity which make the Raymarine equipment go haywire which makes the hydraulic ram of the autopilot go wild, which increased the torque on the rudder's quadrant pin, which eventually sheared off, leaving us with no way to steer the boat. We were so lucky that we were able to jimmy rig a way to remount the sheared off quadrant pin as it allowed us to sail Leu Cat the remaining 1500 nm we had to go to reach Grenada. Sheesh! It is amazing how tied in everything is and how much knowledge one needs to have to figure out what is the root cause of some seemingly unrelated problem.
To make a long story short, I have called the rigger and Spice Island Marina to say that I am delaying our trip over to them until all of this gets straighten out. I have a few ideas as to what the problem is but I want an electrician to come and inspect everything and tell me if I am right or, if I am wrong, then fix whatever is killing both batteries. I hope I will be in a position to let you know what the verdict is tomorrow....
This show part of the plantation. Those are coco bean drying beds on the right center portion of the photo.