Friday, December 15, 2006

Monday 11th December

Staniel Cay.

24 10.33 N
76 26.75 W

The time had come, the winds were supposed to drop to 20 – 25 knots so we made the decision to leave for our next destination. We apparently weren’t the only ones leaving today we watched 2 other boats leave and then we untied ourselves from the mooring buoy –not an easy task in the prevailing wind, and motored out of the shelter of the park’s mooring field towards our first waypoint. Once we had cleared the numerous little islands that made up the land mass of the park we found the wind was blowing 15 – 20 knots on the beam. This meant we could put up a sail, we were a bit cautious though as there were some gusts up to 25 knots. We pulled our jib out to about ¾ of the way to see how we would go, our speed increased from the 5.5 knots we were motoring at to 7.5 knots. We were flying along but also heeling over quite a bit at this point. Gerry cut back the motor until we were back to 6 knots and once we were settled again he turned it off completely, we were now still flying along but only under wind power. We quickly reached our next 2 waypoints where we had to change direction slightly and this brought the wind further round towards the bow and slowed us down enough that we decided to start the engine again to help is along to our final waypoint. On arriving at the final waypoint Gerry said we would put away the jib – get ready. So I did my usual job of holding on to and gradually letting out the jib sheet whilst he hauled the furling line in, except that this time it didn’t go exactly as planned. I was fine but as soon as Gerry got the furling line off the cleat the wind gusted and began to rip the line out of his hands, how he managed to hold on to it I don’t know, I heard this awful blood curdling scream of pain accompanied by a yell of “Just let it go” . I did just that and hurtled across the cockpit to try and help him pull the jib in which we managed and then it was time to assess the damage. Prudently we both religiously wear sailing gloves for handling the lines, I’d like to say they did a good job but the fact remains that Gerry had rope burns across the pads of 2 fingers on his right hand – good job he’s left handed! Anyway I dashed below and grabbed some ice blocks and pain relieving gel whilst Gerry continued to steer us towards our destination – Staniel Cay. Glove off, first aid administered and Gerry then asked if I wanted to anchor or go into the marina. We had thought we were going to anchor up until this point but he was obviously having second thoughts, I left the decision to him and he radioed the Staniel Cay Yacht club for a marina berth and within 10 minutes we were alongside and tied up. Time to review the damage – the ice and gel had done their thing and the pain was now gone, the skin was still intact, very white and looked like it might blister, feeling was normal (?) in all fingers. We had a post mortem about how we could have done it better but really haven’t come up with solution apart from trying to use the winch for the furling line which isn’t ideal. Our next problem was to unravel the jib sheets which had wound around each other when I had let go of them to help Gerry haul in the furling line, it didn’t take too long but was another job that need not have been. We had another “casualty” as we tied up to the dock, as I undid the spring loaded safety line the spring flew out of the catch followed by the pin which holds it closed – straight into the water – well where else would it have gone? Of course it isn’t an item that we carry spares of so we had to cable tie it together. There was a chance of swimming down to get it but the circling sharks kind of put us off that idea! After our eventful arrival at the yacht club marina there was only one thing to do – go to the bar and sink a few beers / rums which we duly did. A quick walk around the immediate area followed as we sought out the “Blue Store “ and the “Pink Store” - apparently grocery stores, we found both, along with the church and an art studio – everyone of them was closed so we saved a heap of tourist dollars there! We booked ourselves in for dinner at the yacht club and had a “snore o’clock” before cleaning up and returning to the yacht club for a delicious meal. A few more drinks and we just about fell into bed.



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