Starblazer - 15/11/2016 - The end of this part of our journey
Sorry this is a bit later than intended but I wasn't on watch between 0500 and 0800 when I normally write my blog!
As expected we reached Tortola mid afternoon on Monday and were safely tied up in the marina by about 1700. The day's run to noon was 143 nM, not brilliant but it did include about 7 hours of sailing, peaceful but not particularly fast. Now it is time to reflect on the passage.
We had no major problems, just a few niggles which might prove to be expensive! I have previously described the problems with the mainsail slugs which detach themselves from the cars on the mast track. Today I reconnected another one which had popped out before I stowed the mainsail properly. John needs to revisit the design of his pins.
A second, relatively minor problem concerns the tricolour light at the top of the mast. It became intermittent so we relied on the deck lights. The disadvantages of using these is that they are lower down so not seen so far away and there are three bulbs rather than one. Actually, now they are LEDs, the additional power consumption is not really an issue. John will have to go to the top of the mast to inspect the connections etc. and, if necessary, replace the rather expensive bulb.
A third, possibly expensive, problem concerned the battery charger. When we started the generator the battery charger sensed the power input and tried to start charging, then the ELCB/RCCB/GFI dropped out. We were reduced to running the engine to charge batteries. Diesel engines do not like running with no load so our lack of sailing wind actually worked in our favour! Today John removed the battery charger and took it to a local company. They tested it extensively and reported 'no fault found'. Phew! That saved us about $600 but it left John with a problem. The two possible faults were either within the wiring or the socket, Long story short, a new cable to connect the original socket to the fuse box seems to have solved the problem, we are now charging.
I have left the best, or perhaps worst, problem till last. We kept finding water in the saloon bilge. As a precaution we turned off the top tank which feeds directly into the bottom tank. The gauge only measures the bottom tank so we saw the level drop quite quickly and found yet more water in the bilge. One tank should easily last two to three weeks if you are not showering everyday. We used half a tank in just a few days. We removed the tank in New Zealand and had it welded as we had found it leaking a few days out of Galapagos. It looks as if the rough sailing conditions have opened up more cracks. We will wait until we get home to replace the tank, in the meantime we will not overfill it and keep the tap switched off between the two tanks. The watermaker ran well and feeds directly into the bottom tank so we will be fine. The top tank will be kept as an emergency backup if the watermaker fails.
Now for some numbers. We sailed 1,298 nM from start to finish plus about 20 miles to the start and 10 miles to the finish. We motored or motor sailed for about 74 hours, we finished in 8 days, 23 hours and 56 minutes. I've ignored the seconds as I don't think they are necessary in this time span.
Tomorrow we will enjoy Tortola before finishing boat jobs on Thursday. I'll write one last blog on the Caribbean 1500 page just before we leave for Grenada on either Sunday or Monday.