Our mindset in recent weeks has been on getting the boat ready for the crossing. Sue's focus has been on provisioning. She has been meal planning, shopping, cooking and stowing all of the prepared meals and food in our small freezer, fridge and pantry. None of these are easy tasks. She can't drive to the store but instead walks with a fold up wagon for loading up groceries, and when she gets there she is never sure what she will find. Rolling counter tops and a swinging oven make cooking a challenge and then stowing it all requires special engineering.
My focus has been on the getting the boat ready. There is always work to do on a boat. I spend time either fixing what broke or doing regular maintenance. The maintenance list includes removing the rust from all the stainless steel, replacing worn hardware, changing filters in the watermaker, changing engine, generator and outboard oil and filters and fuel filters, removing paddle boards, bicycles, spare anchor and rode and everything else stored in the lazarette so that I can get at and check the steering quadrant and auto pilot hydraulics, and cleaning the bottom of the boat. I also need to restock our inventory of spare parts and maintenance items that have been used up during the last several months.
A few months ago we scheduled the installation of an electric furler for the genoa to replace the manual roller fuller. The furler wasn't so bad sailing in the Caribbean. Down here, if we are headed south we'll be on a port tack and going north we'll be on starboard tack. So until we reached St. Lucia the furling line was run to the port side electric winch and then heading back north I ran the line to the starboard side electric winch. There were still occasions when I had to furl by manually hauling the line, but mostly we had an electric winch available. With the electric furling unit it doesn't matter which tack we are on, you ease the sheet and push the button so now it's a one person job.
We had the furler installed at Crown Bay Marina on St. Thomas. The installation took two days. Sea trials proved that the furler works great and we departed St. Thomas for the BVI's on April 25th. We were feeling pretty good at this point. Sue had completed most of her provisioning and I was on schedule for the boat prep. Two days later our freezer quit. The freezer that Sue had stocked with home cooked meals and a month worth of food wasn't working. The same day the in-mast mainsail furler died. And since bad things seem to happen in threes, Sue also managed to fall through the aft hatch which added a trip to the clinic for xrays to our plans, luckily nothing was broken and she will heal on her own. For the rest of our repairs the advice we got in Tortola was to head back to St. Thomas. So, back to Crown Bay on Saturday morning. On Sunday morning, Sue and I removed the mainsail, boom vang and boom. Then we removed the gooseneck and furling unit from the mast. On Monday morning Island Rigging & Hydraulics picked up the furler, diagnosed the problem and ordered a new motor from Florida. Monday afternoon Reefco Marine Refrigeration rescued our freezer. It required several coolers but Sue was able to save all the food.
We are now waiting for FedEx to deliver the new motor. Reassembly will take about a day and if all goes well we will be back at Nanny Cay Marina on Tortola Thursday, with just enough time to meet our son Patrick who arrives Friday and is joining us for the sail to Bermuda, the first leg of our Atlantic crossing.
Come on FedEX.