Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Oh What a night !

Before leaving the anchorage and Rocky Point, we did the procedure to
recalibrate the wind instruments from factory default, which had not
been done by Smith Electronics. Hopefully this will be it.
We then motored through the bank towards Nuevita Rocks, which is not
difficult if you followed the recommended tracks on the Explorer Chart
book for the Far Bahamas. We exited the bank at 17:00, and shortly after
that, I put up the main, hoping to attract the wind. We did not get much
until after dinner but around 20:30 we were able to stop the engine and
sail on almost a direct course, on a close haul but at 5 knots.
At midnight, coming on deck to take my shift, I decided to set up the
Monitor windvane. While at the back of the boat, I discovered a giant
bamboo, probably 8 feet long and 6 inches in diameter. At first, we
tried to shake it off underway with a hook with no success and the loss
of the hook. I then tried to heave to, but we were still making too much
headway. We dropped the sails completely and then hanging from the
windvane mount, I managed to put a line around the bamboo. Jean-Francois
was then able to move it forward to a point where it was perpendicular
to the boat and it freed itself. I checked the rudder best I could
inside and outside and found no apparent problem, so I set up the
windvane and we restarted the boat.
For a while, it worked very very well. We were doing again more than 5.5
knots with around 12 knots of wind and on an almost direct course.
Around 3:00 a.m. we had to reef down to 2 reefs with thunderstorms in
sight but were still OK. And at 5, the wind disappeared, the sea became
quite choppy and we had to go back to motor sailing.
Since we had Acklins Island nearby, I decided to stop there for the
afternoon and the night, in part to check the underside of the boat. We
anchored at 12:30 and I went below the boat to find a few scratches on
the rudder but no real damange otherwise.
We will probably leave tomorrow afternoon in order to arrive at Great
Inagua during the day and anchor there for our last night in the Bahamas.

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