All The SAILBOAT BREAKDOWNS: Sailing to the Dominican – How Not To Sail A Boat


So we left for the Dominican Republic
maybe two or three days ago and the first thing that went wrong was, oh five
days ago… The first thing we went wrong was the
weather we waited too long and the northerlies passed before we could make
the best use of them so we sort of had to punch into it for a few days and everyone is really tired.
We’re gonna do it that 70’s show style. Then we stopped at the marina in Great Inagua which was actually really nice which was a positive. We had a really nice stay at Great Inagua and we got to see a lighthouse.
I went a positive. So negative these people. Alright, next. So we left Great Inagua as Zak said without the northerlies and the seas were just huge and first thing to go wrong on that sail would have been maybe the water tanks. Zak
noticed tons of fresh water pouring out while we were on a heel and he calmly comes upstairs where John and I are at the helm and says “John could you just have a look at something for me”
so it’s not to alarm us and cause panic on board. That was the first of many problems. After the water tank was leaking all
through the boat, the furling line broke at night and so I think Cal and I
were off watch downstairs and then we just hear all the flogging of the jib and
then we had to get up and I think John got up and fixed up a furling
line and was violently ill while doing so but he
was a champion of made it through. After the furling line broke, we started
noticing that middle hatch and they companionway hatch began to leak and they were leaking quite bad. And dripping into both the pilot berths on either side. That
was the first leaks leaks to occur. And so nobody’s sleeping, I’m not at the
pilot berth anymore which is the most comfortable bed because there is leaks and I’m
sleeping in the v-berth which is right below the forward stay and the furler for the jib. And Zak is up on watch and John is sleeping on the couch and all I hear is like “woo, woo, woo” then the whole jib is out and you can hear it flopping around and I’m like “there goes the furler again” … so John’s gone to the trouble of redoing this furler and re-threading it through down through all the pulleys and winching it up, pulling out just a corner of the big jib again and not an hour later it would have been
gone, gone again! So now we have too short of a furling line and no way
to furl our massive jib in these heavy winds. So after dealing with the furling
line several times over we decided to pull down the furling jib and go to the storm jib just because we had a few more days in the passage and instead of punching into it
with the flogging jib we would get a bit of shape with the stormsail so
middle of the night through the waves up on the very bow holding on for dear
life while trying to take down the sail and trying to put a new one up but we got through that and that was the end of the trouble with the jib. After we managed to take the
jib down and put up the storm jib which Cally and I would not have been able to do
without Zak we went back downstairs and found even more leaks. The carpet was so solid wet and it was just holding water. We tried to put some towels in key areas
but we still had two days left so we were well aware by that stage that it was just going to be a really wet journey. We had barely made any progress east and we
were starting to feel a little bit defeated by the end of the first night or start of
the second morning. I’m gonna just back track a little to the storm jib, because I think we forgot the other problem that came along with that. We went to, Zak tackled down the
the big jib (well it is only a 92%) but he tackled down the big jib, got ropes around it and got it inside and go to put up the storm jib and the main halyard is wrapped around I guess the spreader and the radar. We had been tightening it down and it wouldn’t tighten, luckily it didn’t break the
radar! But yes, I mean not only really know how to do that but to learn how to do that in the dark… we were we glad to have a Sydney to Hobart racer who had to do that twice an hour according to Zak. So, we got that up and got the spare jib halyard on and have yet to untangle the main halyard as of this moment now. Then more leaks after that…. Then we started doing some pretty
serious tacking up by the lower side of Turks and Caicos and we thought maybe,
maybe we’re in a position where we can take one tack down to Luperon, fingers crossed. So second night we managed to hold one tack. I think that was probably the first time
I got a decent sleep it was probably the first time Zak got a decent sleep and
Cally was on watch for a long time so I actually had a brilliant dream where we arrived in Luperon and then I got woken up by Cally and it was quite apparent that
we were not in Luperon. And it was quite defeating to say the
least! The next problem would on our arrival…
Oh wait, I forgot… so a few times we tried because the tacking was so ridiculous – it was 155nm as the crow flies from Great Inagua to Luperon. We have to check the GPS but we think we did about 400nm worth of tacking because the winds were from exactly where we want to go. But a few times we would tack close enough and we would think let’s
just motor directly at Luperon since we can’t sail there and we turned on the
engine and it starts up and revs up and it gets going and then it just “put, put, put” and you watch the RPM’s just drop and the engine dies. We tried that a couple of times with no luck, it is the middle of the night and we gave up on it for the time being and though we would try again in Luperon or closer to if we got a bit calmer water because it wasn’t the calmest when we were trying to motor. So we had to change the fuel filter in the engine sometime through the night and once we
got that done we were able to motor and point towards out heading a bit more and then the next
the next stressful part would have been entering the channel at night and
navigating a channel. Narrowly missed a few channel markers
which was aided by John on the bow of the torch yelling and screaming, very
helpful down the back of the boat! Once we skipped, bounched our way through
the channel markers – nah we didn’t actually hit any – once we’ve made our way
through the channel markers and we got into Luperon finding a mooring was
hard. Boats everywhere and markers everywhere but no moorings so we had to drive all the way down to the southwestern section before we found a
empty ball and then we picked up the ball and tied off and we thought that
was it. Thought that was all… I think the phrase “What else could have gone wrong on that sail that was so terrible” is what caught us out because, so we tied up to the mooring ball and John backed up on it check to make sure that its good enough, it was a pretty calm night because the winds here don’t really blow at night in the
harbour, they pick up at 11am and blow all day and then stop for the night and we woke up this morning and we were on a really, really terrible for
mooring ball that goes pretty much under the boat next to us once the winds start blowing as we learnt and so we had Papo, a local the local marina guy
who is in charge of some of the moorings, he came over to help us move to a new mooring and John put the boat into gear and we went nowhere! So we tried reverse, we tried forward, we tried… you know you look out
the back you can’t see any water moving and sure enough we got the GoPro is the water on the end of the boat hook and there is no propeller on our shaft so that is a new development … So we think what happened was
last night at some point the retaining bolts, retaining nut, that sits
inside the propeller. The retaining bolt that sits inside the propeller that has split pins has somehow come off now when I was backing up on the mooring, we backed up and then it pulled us forward again and I was like ah there must be a lot of chain on the mooring because even though I was still in reverse it had
managed to pull us back forwards but I think what’s actually happened is that the prop has just decided to go “bloop” off the back and fall down. So we think we might know where it
is. We might try and organise someone to go in and hopefully retrieve it depending on the cost and we’re also gonna look at
secondhand props. So yeah it is a bit of a concerning issue, we could have gone into
neutral at any point last night and a wave could have knocked the
prop off the shaft then we would have been up the proverbial creek without a paddle.
So we’re pretty lucky I think at least we anchored up and now we get the burrito!

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