Selene - It is done!
Selene crossed the finish line at 11.30 local time on Tuesday 11th December after one final night of squalls and rain and winds in excess of 20Kts as a final hurrah from the mighty Atlantic Ocean. Bob spotted a spectacular cloud formation as we reached into the finish at the north of the island. It looked for all the world as if the cloud was giving us the finger. I would not tempt providence to respond to this gesture, but it seems that Nature conspired to test us to the limit with as much as she could throw at us. Well all I can say is that Selene and her crew measured up to all that was asked of us and we came through.
Unfortunately we were unable to start the engine and had to be towed to a temporary dock by two charming men in an IGY dory with a 90HP engine. Further investigations sugested that the failure to start was due to a faulty earth lead on the starter motor return. This has been replaced, but worse news was still to come. The engine still would not crank even with fully charged batteries. It appears that the pressure of water into the exhaust pipe on the underside of the stern overhang, and being unable tostart the engine to clear it, has led to water building up in the exhaust system and eventually finding its way into the cyclinders and crankcase through the exhaust valves. A number of cylinders are damaged and we put a mechanic to work on the engine on Saturday. He worked like a man possessed and had it totally stripped down and head off within two hours. We then craned the engine out through the main companionway using the main halyard and then onto the dock. The bore of at least two cylinders is completely shot and the tops of all the pistons are rusty.
We have waited patiently over the weekend to see whether it can be repaired. The news this morning is that it cannot. The engine is officially beyond economical repair. By chance there is an exactly similar engine with only 109 engine hours so I am going to look at it tomorrow. If it is satisfactory I hope we shall be back in business by the end of Wednesday. Rather a downer after the excitement of the race and finishing.
We have been enjoying Caribbean hospitality and I had a few days in a hotel with Vicki, Vincent and my daughters Lily and Zoe. We moved back onto the boat yesterday and have managed to secure "vacant possession as Bob went back to London yesterday and Kevin is staying in a hotel for a few more days before returning to UK in time for Christmas.
I hope we shall be able to keep to our schedule of leaving for St Vincent as planned on Saturday to pick up Freddie, my son, then on to the Grenadines for Christmas, before heading back to Antigua in time for our flights on 6th January.
So that is the end of the ARC Blog. Congratulations to all who helped us to achieve this amazing journey.
I shall add some images over the next few days, but internet connection speeds are not quite as fast as one would like!