First Day at Sea
30 April 2012
Steve and I arrived into St. Maarten on Wednesday, April 25th without any travel problems. Dave had moved onto the boat a week earlier and was there to greet us. Thursday we reviewed the boat and safety equipment, did a rigging check, changed a few things, and then went for a sail/motor. Friday we were scheduled to have some metal fabrication done by a company FKG. As is typical for the Caribbean we arrived and they were not expecting us, even after 3 e-mails verifying our arrival date and time. The workers never arrived until 2:00pm and where not able to finish the job completely. Dave and Stosh bought provisions while we waited and I cleared us out to go fishing that evening. Because FKG was so late to start, we missed the bridge opening and had to spend the night in the lagoon. It worked out as we were able to get a great meal and party with a whole group of yacht crew who were leaving for the Mediterranean.
Saturday Gordy from St. Maarten Diesel did the final check on the new motors. They were in perfect shape. He started to replace one of the Racor fuel filters and two of the bolts broke from corrosion. It was fortunate that it happened in a harbor and the spare parts were on board. We fueled up at Simpson Bay Marina which is where Palarran was docked by her old owner. 1300 liters of fuel when in the 3 main tanks and 24 jerry can's. We have figured 420 gallons of diesel, 200 gallons of water, and provisions for a month weigh about 7000 pounds. Palarran is riding pretty low and sluggish.
After some final checks we were ready to leave Oyster Pond on Sunday for the last time. Twenty six months was long enough to be there but I will miss Mario, Kurt, Scott, and many of the Sunsail dock workers. At noon we made our toast to Neptune and departed. I must have missed some detail in the toast because Neptune decided to make our first night out pretty rough. The wind ranged from 20 to 30 knots and the sea's where running very steep. Our destination, the Azores, is North East from St. Maarten. The wind and waves were also coming straight from that direction. We had a double reefed main out with a sliver of jib and had to use one motor to keep us pointing close to the wind.
During the night our starboard trapoline must have caught a breaking wave because it was completely blown out and dragging. The spinnaker pole also came loose. Dave and I repaired those items this morning which was actually fun. There was an element of danger having to go to the nose of the boat 200 miles off shore and make functional repairs in still large waves. As the day has progressed the sea has laid down quite a bit. We are now motor sailing at 50 degrees with a speed of 8 knots. We should be on track to make Horta in 14 days.
One last note - Dave Sharpe has been an awesome addition to the crew. He cooks fantastic meals, picks up, and pretty much is there to do any tasks at hand. He and I are working very well together. Stosh is fishing right now. I'd guess he will catch something pretty quickly judging from the number of flying fish zipping by us.