Monday, 31 March 2008

Approaching the Turks and Caicos

We left Rum Cay early in the morning, at high tide, with the guide boat again, and set sail for Mayaguana in the company of Losloper (from Alberta) , Migo, and Beach Magic, both from Quebec. It soon became apparent that we had left too early and that landfall at Mayaguana was going to be in the DARK! Not being big fans of darkness and coral reefs we chose to continue sailing on to Turks and Caicos. As we sailed along the North side of Mayaguana, blotches appeared on the radar. The first one was a cruise ship who’s upper deck disco reflected off the clouds providing an interesting light show. The second one was a squall. We quickly started the engine and rolled up the genoa, the main was already reefed, and the wind piped up to 25 or 30 knots. We motorsailed for a few hours, our autopilot keeping us close to the wind and away from the land. Around 3:30 am the engine sputtered and then was silent………..I hate it when that happens……... Fortunately we were clear of the island and there was good wind. So we were able to bear off a bit and sail for Provo in the Turks and Caicos. After the sun was up Janine piloted the boat and Gary spent time in the engine compartment trying to figure out what was wrong. It seemed there was a blockage at the fuel intake, inside the fuel tank. After a few hours it became apparent that a good plan B was in order. After a call to the shipyard/mechanic we were able to arrange for a towboat to meet us in the Sandbore channel. Arriving early, we proceeded to short tack up the channel, trying to shorten the tow as much as possible. The sailing was great until we heard Bradley exclaim “hey dad the spreader fell off” Gary jumped to the leeward side and….well….the spreader had fallen off.! ………..I really hate it when that happens……... Quickly we furled the jib (one small rip), dropped the main and set the anchor. We were able to get the spreader reattached just as the towboat arrived. Once in the Shipyard, the mechanic, Ryan, was able to clear the fuel intake. Then the tank was drained and all of the fuel filtered (twice). We found a small piece of chain that used to hold the fuel cap to the boat lodged inside the intake of the transfer pump. We believe this to be the culprit. With the engine now in working order, Gary replaced all the retaining bolts on all of the spreaders (one of the rivets had corroded out) and took the jib off to the shop to be fixed. We were lucky, the problems we had, although potentially big, happened at times when they were least threatening, and we were able to handle them without major difficulties. We have now reviewed and checked everything we can think of (again) so the next thing to go wrong will be something we have not thought of yet.

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