The weather has been squally. Winds were expected to be 30 knots or so during the squalls. It is not fun to get caught out there by a squall with full sails up! This is why we started leaving with a reef in the main sail when squalls or strong winds are expected. We typically only lose half a knot in boat speed and it can be a much more comfortable ride. It is certainly safer to start with a reef in than to try to go forward to the mast in bad weather to put one in. And, if you don’t need it, it’s because it is calm and it can easily be shaken out. I’m not sure why we didn’t do that before, but we learned after blowing out some of our rigging!
The atmosphere in Rodney Bay Marina is changing. As more ARC/ARC+ boat arrive, the cruiser crowd becomes less dominant. It has been fun watching them all come in. The ARC boats honk, wave, blow airhorns, and greet each other with enthusiasm as each new boat arrives. There is no mistaking an ARC arrival!
However, as the marina fills up, our time at the dock is limited, whether we are ready or not. December 10, the marina has to make room for the big group of boats expected to arrive. ARC boats are guaranteed dock space, so that means the rest of us have to go. We had hoped to be long gone by then, but here we are. Our part was due to arrive 6 PM Friday, but Fed Ex never delivered it. Dave called Fed Ex and learned it is now due sometime Monday, which means we should get it Tuesday from customs and then it still has to be installed. Time is running out!
Squalls or not, we are using this dock time to get other boat projects done. Pulling the anchor and all the chain and rode off the boat and onto the dock is a big job, heavy work that is really a pain in the neck. However, it turns out that this was a very good exercise for us. We originally planned to just measure out the chain and tag it every 25 feet, so we could keep track of how much rode we let out. But the chain was so twisted in the anchor locker that removing the chain took at least 3 times longer than expected. Dave untied the line from the boat and had to untwist as he fed out the chain. Chain is heavy anyway, but tightly twisted chain is super heavy! Eventually we got it all on dock and laid out to be measured.
I have never spliced a rope before. But as we untwisted the rode, we realized that the line was no longer tied to the chain. It is a good thing we never let out any line! We would have lost our anchor and all the chain. Another thing we learned was that we only have 150 feet of chain! We thought we had 250 feet. In most places this doesn’t matter, but we have tried to anchor in places 36 to 56 feet deep. At 50 feet, we can only put out 3 times the rode before we are at the line. We’ve been told 3 times is enough rode for deep anchoring, but we haven’t tested it out yet. Anyway, the line was attached to the chain by a splice that had come completely undone. So Dave pulled up a Youtube video for me to learn how to do it.
Three Little Birds lent me their marlin spike. I had no idea what it was, but John showed me how to stick the spike between the threads and feed my working line through. It was so much easier on my fingertips, which were starting to get quite raw. Since the last attachment twisted out, I asked Dave to whip the ends – stitching a line through and circling the thread around to hold it all together. Dave also applied a zip tie for good measure.
What do you think? Not bad for my first splice, eh? Now I just need to trim and burn the ends off. I was working in the rain, so I need the line to dry before burning it. I ran the lighter out of butane trying to burn it while wet. Someone also suggested we splice the rode at the other end where the it ties to the boat. This keeps you from losing the entire anchor set up to the bottom of the sea should the rode ever jump the windlass and feed out. Right now I just attached it by a bowline knot, but I think I will take this advice and splice it on later, maybe when it is dryer out.
Meanwhile, Dave just goes looking for trouble. And trouble always leads him back to the starboard bilge pump. The Rule automatic float switch bilge pump gives Dave nothing but headaches and failed us when we were taking on water, which is what I thought they were made for. So Dave is trying to replace it with a Johnson manual float switch bilge pump. But the change over is not going smoothly. Maybe it has to be installed differently? Man! The work list for Dave’s dad is getting long and he won’t be bored! We just need to get to St Martin to meet his parents.
Another job Dave found for himself is the salt water deck wash pump. It has never worked since we bought the boat. Dave removed it and tried to figure out why it is dead.
He took it apart and inspected it, but there was no obvious problem to be fixed. Island Water World did not have a replacement pump, so guess what, dad? The list just keeps growing! The squalls are supposed to continue through Monday, so we were hoping to leave Tuesday morning. But with the part delayed, Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning is more likely. Wish us luck on getting the part installed on Tuesday.