25 February 2016
Arrival in Simpson Bay was initially great as I knew an old buddy was anchored there who I hadn't seen for two years. Chris Crews on Skabenga. We had to wait for about an hour for the bridge to open as we were going to anchor in the lagoon. I cleared the anchor for dropping, pushed the button, nothing! Damn! So I carefully came up behind Chris and threw him a line. We had a chat while I checked out electrics etc. I think that I found the problem. A slightly loose battery terminal. So tightened that up and so far so good.
I'm currently anchored near the western end of the lagoon, on the French side. A lot cheaper to check in here than on the Dutch side. €5.
A month later and I'm in still in the lagoon. And the windlass problem hasn't gone away. It's grown! The gear box had seized. So it's game over for that piece of essential equipment.
For me, as a single hander, I need to have all of my gear in tip top shape all the time. It's not about whether you have it or not, the equipment, that is. It's if you have it there it had better work! Meaning if I didn't have an electric windlass, I'd be prepared to drop or heave by hand. But if I've got this shit expensive piece of gear that I rely upon, it must work. It's like after a great sail, when you start approaching a mooring field, anchorage or the like. Genoa furled, heading up into the wind. Hey! This is me alone. But it's it's what I do! And signed up for.
Start the engine? It's dead! Damn! That's why I leave the mainsail up. I still have a driving force. Bare away. Keep away from any obsticals and reassess.
This is a very important part. Keep yourself powered. Lightly. And keep away from the hard stuff!
It's a month later and a lot of Hurry up and wait has happened.
My buddy boat Partners has sailed to the British Virgin Islands but I do have many friends still here.
I now have a brand new windlass aboard. Not installed. That hopefully will be next week. The problem I'm having with my fridge stems from the fact that my battery bank is shot. So after a lot of shopping around, measuring what fits etc, I have a new set of house batteries being delivered to my boat tomorrow afternoon. Greg. I've upped my capacity from 398ah to about 490ah.
I think that things break here in St. Maarten more frequently than usual!
I've been here for about 6 weeks and am enjoying the island very much. The French side for the supermarkets, etc. and then the Dutch side for the bars, entertainment etc. The beaches around the island are quite spectacular and getting around is easy using busses and gypsy cabs. Gypsies are illegal but pick you up and taxi you around for next to nothing. Very handy.
We spent a day at Maho Baai watching the planes land and take off from the airport. Quite something. Five of us ex South Africans also spent a day on the beach at Baai Rouge. With all the BBQs and beach bars, we faired well.