29 April 2009 | Marsh Harbour Boat Yard
Winds, 30-40 km/h from the east for the last week.
At Fort Pierce, saying goodbye to Ed, Michael's brother, just before heading out to sea.
Things don't always go as planned.
We left Ft Pierce, Florida on Sunday, April 19, heading east to St. Martin, in the Caribbean.
Here is an account written by Michael about what happen after 24 hours out:
We are currently living 12' above sea level in the Abacos Bahamas.
Last Sunday we left from Ft. Pierce to St. Martin, about a 1500 mile journey that would last 10-12 days. We got help with a new crew member, Lauren a retired elctrical engineer. About 24 hrs after departure I had to go to the bow to straighten some lines. While being meticulous and going back a 3rd time to make something better I noticed that a a weld at the bow fitting had totally failed. This fitting holds the forestay and jib sail, also supports the top of the mast forward and both anchors as well. Its very important peice of structure. We immediately furled the head sail and I lashed the assembly together with a tie down strap. Fortunately there were 2 bolts that held the top plate to the bolt. We were now forced to motor. We were 130 miles from Ft. Pierce and 120 miles from the Abacos. Going to the US would have meant crossing the Gulf stream which could potentially have rougher seas. We decided to go to the Bahamas. Tuesday night we arrived in Marsh Harbour and anchored with a stern anchor. Checked into the country yesterday after filling out about 12 forms and paying $330 US as an entry fee. Today we motored to a boat yard and were hauled out. Looks like I'll be able to do quite a bit of the repairs myself. There is a welding and machine shop on the premises. Seems like an ok place and the repair looks easier than I first thought. Looks like it'll still be around another $1500 US by the time we get out of here. Looks like Lauren will hanging in. She's been a great help. Hope to back in the water by early to mid next week.
This one is a Murpheys law followed by we are so lucky that I found it before it got worse. There are 17 cables holding up the 2 masts. I had removed 16 of the 17 fittings that are attached to the hull in the driveway. This job took about 2 months of work. The one fitting at the bow was always so intimidating and the fact that nothing really was discovered in the other locations I thought that this one should be ok. Well it wasn't.
This offshore trip has really hit us as how hard it is to keep going. Everyone was sea sick except Lauren. We never got our sea legs in the 48 hrs that we were out. I was thinking about the big flat screen TV again and selling off. This was a very close call that was saved by a miracle of me going back to the bow a 3rd time and spotting it by chance when the boat was pitching 8-10'. Running a ship around the clock is extremely tiring when you don't have problems and your not sea sick. Again, the most expensive way to travel 3rd class. I have still not stopped working and spending money on this thing since we left home. Along with all else I think the fridge has a refrigerant problem again and the engine seems to leak a lot of oil in heavy seas. Not sure if there is another problem in the engine. We need to be in Grenada before hurricane season which officially starts 5 weeks from now
Otherwise everyone is well and living in a boatyard on the hard. No flushing overboard!!
So, there you have it.
It doesn't look like we will make it to St. Martin as Lauren now must return home and doing an ocean passage like this one definitely requires at least 3 people.
We need to be out of hurricane range by June 1. That means we must cover a lot of miles either south or north of where we are now.
We are not sure which direction we will be going. In the mean time, we will enjoy what the Bahamas have to offer.
Will let you know our direction when we know!