It was rough sailing from St Maarten to St Kitts. The wind was on the nose and the waves were 3-4 feet but choppy and close. The waves weren’t really a problem for us, but we just couldn’t seem to get there. We tried to sail, but had to pint so far off course that we were going back and forth without getting much closer. I finally made an executive decision to motorsail and point closer to our destination. Finally, we started to see the miles start to tick off. It sucks to have to use the engines; they are noisy and use up fuel. But sometimes they are necessary. Dave agreed this was the right call. As it was, we barely anchored before it was too dark to see. We just hoped and prayed there were no coral heads in our path!
We didn’t go to shore or check into the country; just slept and took off again at first light. Our next stop for the night was Montserrat. Again, we just stayed the night and left early the next morning without checking in. I thought we left Montserrat early, but we were dead last in a whole parade of boats heading for Guadeloupe. There are only 20 or so moorings and everyone wanted one. The race was on! Some of the boats from St Maarten were in this race, including Kool Kat and Slow Waltz, whom we met at the dinghy drift party. By the way, “Team Kool Kat” is a blog that Dave has been following for 6 months or more, if anyone wants to check them out here is their Facebook Page. We passed Slow Waltz, Night Watch, and several other boats sailed. We at 7-8 knots! Nice! The wind and the seas were cooperating. We still had to sail off course, but this time we periodically motorsailed back up to get back on track. Around noon, the wind shifted east and we pointed right at our destination! I think that is the first time ever! The apparent wind was 20-22 knots and we stayed above 7 knots speed over ground. Fantastic! There was a lot of pressure on the sails, though, so I was considering letting the sails out some to spill off some of the force. Dave took over the helm and I suggested we might want to do that. We still had about 8 miles to go, but we could make it before 2:00 pm. So much better than the sail to St Kitts!
Then suddenly we heard BAM! CRACK! Flop flop flop. The bolt sheared off the block (pulley) that feeds the jib line to the cockpit. The block flew in the air and smacked against the windshield, cracking it. The jib was luffing (flopping around) and swinging the block around wildly. We quickly furled in the jib and limped in the remaining distance motorsailing with the main only. Now making only 5.6 knots.
It didn’t really matter, Deshaies (pronounced Day-Hay) anchorage was already packed and every mooring ball was taken before even Kool Kat (who arrived first going 9 knots) could claim one. So we dropped anchor next to Hemingway resort and restaurant. We had a spare but used block and replaced the broken one, but the windshield will have to wait until Grenada. Man! It is always something. What lesson did we learn? Partially furl or loosen the jib when the apparent wind reaches 20 knots and put a reef in the main (partially drop the main to decrease sail area) for good measure.