Wednesday, May 13, 2015
Always good to have a plan B
May 13, 2015
Always good to have a plan B
Our plan of sailing direct from Nassau to St. Augustine was rudely interrupted by a low pressure weather system that was supposed to move off to the north east, giving us a clear sail. Well that is not what happened – once we were in the gulf stream off West End Bahamas the weather forecast showed that the low had actually stalled and to make matters worse, it had developed into a tropical storm and even gave it a name – Ana. Sailing into tropical storms is never a good thing so despite the fact that we were having a great sail in 15 to 20 foot rolling seas, we were making 9 to 9.5 knots heading for Portugal. At this point we also discovered that the refrigeration system had completely stopped working and nothing I could do, would make it better. Time for plan B – we ended up sailing to Fort Pierce, Florida to tuck into the inter coastal waterway to get out of the weather and load up on ice, to try to save all the food in the freezer and fridge. We ended up motoring all the way to St. Augustine, arriving Monday morning. All the fixed bridges on the ICW are a minimum of 65 feet clearance – well our VHF radio antenna did a great job of whacking the spiders off the underside of almost every bridge. Our 63 foot tall mast just squeaked under – sure got our attention!
By Monday afternoon the folks from First Mate Yacht Services were on board to start the disassembly of the transmission from the engine to make the repairs. Well here again a plan B is also good – there is just not enough room to work between the engine and the prop shaft so they tried to slide the prop shaft backwards but that didn’t work So now with everything in pieces, Ambition was towed from the Municipal Marina to Oasis Boat Yard to get pulled out of the water.
Well since Tuesday, things have only gone from bad to worse. Pressure washing the boat bottom is standard practice when the boat is hauled out – but in our case, the pressure washing washed the anti-fouling paint off the bottom that was applied just 4 months ago …. Time to call in the paint technical rep to figure out what has gone wrong. Now we will add a new bottom paint job to the list of must do tasks once we figure out who is going to pay for it! We are now on our third service company to try to figure out what to do with our fridge system – it is now looking like a total replacement is going to be the only solution but they can’t even come look at situation until next week.
This morning with much banging and persuasion, the prop shaft finally gave up the fight and slide out the bottom of the boat. Now we discover that the shaft seal, which was supposed to have been serviced in Tampa, was just partially done – nice! So now it only makes sense to upgrade the shaft seal with a much newer and better technology so Ambition will get a new PSS dripless shaft seal this week and a new cutlass bearing as well, as it has rotted out from lack of use. But at least now we can continue with the trying to get the transmission out of the boat - that will restart this afternoon.
The SSB radio was tested yet again and we have determined that I will need to remove it from the boat and ship to the US west coast for a repair and overhaul. Me thinks I will wait to do this later.
On a real positive note, we have some very wonderful friends that Maryse and I met 2 years ago in the Bahamas, that live on board their motor yacht in St. Augustine – they have taken us under their wing and helped out incredibly – welcoming us with our own cabin on board their boat, lending us a Jeep to get around in and overall moral and nautical support for all that is going on here – thanks ever so much Barbara and Randy for your hospitality and support – you guys are great!