Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Slip 'n Slide 'n Rock 'n Roll

The good news from our ten hour ocean run from Fort Pierce to Lake Worth was that the night time running lights I fixed in Titusville worked. The bad news was that we needed them. Nothing was as forecasted; the wind was highly variable (17-22knots) and very shifty. The waves were bigger (7-9ft). The rain was torrential for most of the day. We were soaked to the bone.
All this would have been tolerable but to make matters worse (much worse) we had engine troubles again. I headed down below to fix it while Cassy sailed like a champion through the rough seas. There was a fuel line issue, a broken bolt, spewing diesel mist everywhere. I was able to get her restarted four times but each time the broken bolt would unseal again and keep spewing. Diesel fuel is like oil and in the rolling boat I was literally sliding on my but around the cabin floor trying to hold on to something while I worked. If it wasn't so scary & stressful is must have appeared quite comical. Rocking & rolling with my face inhaling diesel fumes I obviously got pretty seasick and subsequently gave my breakfast back to the ocean. Good times.

We contacted Tow Boat US via VHF just to advise them of our situation but did not immediately request help (we had sail power, were quite far from any reasonable inlet and were having some success with the engine). Just wanted them on standby. They actually called our cell phone a couple of times throughout the next seven hours to check up on us.

Because of the delays caused by these issues we would only arrive to our destination inlet in the darkness, something we have successfully avoided up to now. I fixed the engine one last time but did not start it because I wanted to save any possible short engine running time for if we really needed it (i.e. washing up on jetty rocks in the inlet). Ultimately we did hail Tow Boat US but given the prevailing conditions we actually sailed into the inlet and only once into calmer waters did we get towed to a nearby anchorage.

After peeling off our soaking layers, a piece of pizza (we had hardly eaten a thing all day) and some minimal clean up (puddles of diesel fuel) we fell exhausted & burnt out into our berth.

Early the next morning we had a call form our long lost friends JP & Tina on Brin de Folie who were anchored not far away. After recounting our story they said they'd be by within the hour. JP is a mechanic by trade and is experienced with diesel engines. It took us over three hours to make a robust fix using spare parts from both our stashes. While we still need to get a specific replacement bolt this temporary fix is solid enough to actually be permanent.

Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) there are only photos of when the going was good and none of the day's trials & tribulations (which given our strong proclivity for pictures is a testament in itself of how bad things were).

I can't say how proud I am of Cassandra who maintained a cool head under pressure & tough conditions and demonstrated her sailorly skills throughout. S

I am buttressed by the knowledge that JP from Brin de Folie totally agreed that all the forecasts were way off, so I know I'm not going nuts and that our pre-passage planning routine still holds water (or still keeps it our haha). Frankly, this may be a blessing in disguise as we would much rather have any engine issues identified now here in the US before making the big jump over the Bahamas.

The water is much bluer here. We can now see our anchor & chain about 15 feet below us. This makes us happy. We were surprised by the number of boats at anchor in Lake Worth. Lake Worth is one of the main crossing points to the Northern Bahamas (the Abacos). Everyone is waiting for a good weather window to cross (no north winds). We intend to skip the Abacos and cross the Gulf Stream further south to Bimini. We may hit the Abacos on our way back but we still have to much equipment and provisions to get here in Florida. Additionally we are looking forward to seeing some relatives and friends here.

Tomorrow we continue south via the inland waterway to Boca Raton.

Waking up to the birds

See that weather coming?

Dry Out

Discount jewelry

Feasting with the crew of Brin de Folie

1 comment:

  1. Godspeed, old knocker, and hold our friends fast and safe on the high seas!