Sunday, May 23, 2010

Tail end of the BVI's

Here I am at the tail end of the BVI's, on Virgin Gorda about to order a pizza and a beer. I am experiencing the true essence of low budget sailing by enduring at least one broken item per sail. I now have a jammed roller-furling jib and two banks of dead batteries. We left Tortolla under engine power only b/c I got a jump, thinking that the engine would re-charge the batteries over the course of 40 minutes. When I went to start the engine again at Virgin Gorda - no joy - so we sailed to our anchoring spot and safely dropped anchor near Spanish Town. Why didn't they charge properly? Is there a wiring problem? Is the batteries life simply over? I left one bank charging with the solar panels all day in a last attempt to charge for a good start. We shall see. I may need to have a new battery delivered to the boat. As for the Roller furling jib, it is a sad affair. J hoisted me up the mast today in my harness so that I could have a look. The inner cable for the roller has snapped at the top, who knows how the hell that happened? I suspect the entire deal needs replacement, which is going to cost... I can't think about it, thousands. So my last sail was quite basic, my only force of movement coming from 2 out of my 3 sails, no engine. Trouble in paradise.
We hiked down to the Baths, which came highly recommended. They were worth the visit, quite beautiful. We've visited Tortolla and Norman Island before here. Norman Island featured a two masted, 90ft schooner which was moored and a popular restaurant. It's theme seemed to be people getting drunk enough to lose their clothes, and we watched two drunk women fall accidently into the bay while trying to get to their dingy. Unfortunately, most of the people doing what I'm doing around here are over 40 or well over 40, and they are chartering massive catamerans. So there aren't as many young bikini-clad girls romping around as I would have hoped. I'm starting to feel that this trip will be limited to a Clockwise tour of the Caribean sea, which I feel is enough of an accomplishment. I am thinking my route will go from here down to Grenada, then West to the ABC islands and Venezuela, and then a return stateside, arriving in September. That's my best guess right now. We'll see. Even though I am living quite modestly on the boat, the unavoidable repairs that have and will come up are casting a menacing shadow on my savings.

The photos are of the snapped roller furling jib cable and one of the Baths. And one tired looking dog

If I can get the engine started tomorrow, we'll be off to St. Martin. Until then, fair winds.


  1. Non illegitimus carborundum!

  2. Perry,

    That "cable" inside the roller furling is the forestay, and is vital to keeping the mast up. It looks like from the picture that the swaged eye parted from the wire at the upper pin. This is a common failure with swaged fittings due to corrosion, and it occurs suddenly and with no warning. You are lucky you have a cutter or the mast would probably already have come down.

    Right now the roller furling track and the jib halyard are probably supporting the weight, but sailing in any kind of breeze or swell could cause a dis-masting. They are not designed to support that type of load.

    I would highly recommend immediately rigging you spin halyard as a temporary stay (which by the way, the spin hal in the pic is wrapped around the roller furling and may have gotten caught up and caused the failure).

    Good luck and I hope you get this before you leave and try and sail.