Thursday, April 15, 2010

Mishaps on the Way to Sint Maarten

“Um, where is the dingy?” was not a question I expected to ask on the evening of March 2nd. Our plan was to leave Dominica at 2030 just after putting the monkeys to bed and heading out for the 200 mile sail to Sint Maarten to meet Opa and Omi (Seb's father and his wife). The monkeys were in bed at 2000 as planned and the boat was ready. The last thing we needed to do was deflate the dingy and stow it on deck. A short inspection outside, however, revealed that the dingy was no longer tied to the boat and in the darkness was nowhere to be seen. Our first thought was to call the big Pjotters for help in the search and to call the local dive shop to see if anyone had seen it. We knew it had disappeared between the hours of 1800-2000 and were quite sure that it had drifted rather than been stolen. Kees showed up in their dingy and a man from the dive shop drove up and picked up Seb and the two boats headed off in opposite directions to begin the search. After less than 15 minutes, Kees found the dingy and after a short thank you discussion with the local fisherman who had swum out to salvage it (and a huge thank you to Kees for finding it again) we stowed it on deck and were on our way.

During my first watch (2300-0300) I noticed a strange smell in the entryway next to the engine room and opened the motor room. The smell persisted so I turned off the motor and we sailed the rest of the night. The following day Seb attempted to diagnose the problem and realized that the start battery had blown out and we were stuck sailing the rest of the way, a gloomy prospect with the winds around 5 knots. In short the 33 hours that we planned for the trip became 42. On top of the time taken we narrowly missed getting becalmed just off the start of the professional race of the Heineken regatta...potentially horribly embarrassing. On the positive side, we were able to practice anchoring under sail in the Simpson Bay and that went well. Two kind gentlemen from the IGY marina came out to tow us in (for a rather steep fee) under the cheering eyes of crowds of Heineken regatta spectators watching from the clubhouse. Needless to say we were relieved to be in our marina slip.

No comments:

Post a Comment