Last night, Ray Whalen, skipper of Adagio, made the difficult decision to abadon his passage to the Bahamas, break from the fleet and return to the United States.
Tim Hasson, who has been listening in on the fleet's SSB roll calls from his shore station near Philadelphia, first became aware of their troubles late on the 14th. In an email to World Cruising Club staff, Tim described their situation:
"Sat-phone call from Ray on Adagio advises they've lost their alternator/charging capability. All comm's, including VHF off unless needed. At this point they remain Bahamas-bound, but are considering alternatives. He will phone me for WX at 0830 AST (immediately after roll call).
At the time, Adagio, Whalen's 37' Pacific Seacraft, was still making for the islands, and the crew was looking forward to their landfall some three hundred miles distant. The watch routine became slightly more difficult with the added burden of having to hand-steer - the loss of their charging capability meant that their electronic autopilot was essentially inoperable, as they did not have the battery capacity to keep it going.
Later that evening, things got even more difficult aboard the boat, and they started discussing options for bailing out. Again, from Tim Hasson:
"Spoke again w Ray on Adagio 2113 AST via Sat-phone. His position as of 1956 AST was 31 22.506 N 074 59.84 W. Ray is considering bailout options including Charleston SC, Wrightsville Beach NC or Savannah GA. BTW, one crewmember is sick, so they are shorthanded and hand steering (no AP due to power issues). No generator or other auxiliary charging systems aboard. No DC charger for the sat-phone, so he must run inverter to keep it charged.
Finally, this morning Whalen made the final call, and altered course to 210, bound for Wilmington, North Carolina. The crew is safe and happy, albeit likely disappointed, but are remaining in contact with Hasson until they make port. As of now, there is no discussion of whether or not they will have another go after making repairs.
Meanwhile, Centime, Dennis Jud's Shearwater 39, who stopped in Beaufort shortly after the start, is at sea again, heading south from the US Coast after a successful repair. Check back with carib1500.com for updated news reports as the fleet nears the islands.