Bobbing about on the azure sea.....

andromeda of plymouth
Susan and Andrew Wilson
Thu 23 Dec 2010 16:33
13:06.37N 59:37.55W
....well we would like to be but its a bit bouncy at the moment due to a strong northerly swell which meant the shallow innder harbour in Bridgetown became untenable due to the surge around 2am this morning. We managed to get ourselves away from the jetty and are now anchored in 8 metres of water near the Barbados Yacht Club and the less formal Barbados Cruising Club. We will be here a while! The weather is "most unusual" and they have never known so much rain before Xmas before - where have we heard that before!?
We have found a rigger (Clint Brooks) who is making the necessary calls and getting quotes together for the insurance company but given the time of year progress is going to be slow for a few weeks while the whole world works through the festivities. We have two options - one is to stay here are get the rig shipped in from the US and installed sometime in late January/February. This time will include time for two new sails to be cut. The other option is to motor to St. Lucia and do everything there, or possibly Martinique. If this latter option is taken we would need to do the trip in company as one engine doesn't provide much contingency. Once we have the insurance claim form submitted we will ask for guidance from GJW Ltd. The costs for the loss of the rig and sails going to be quite high and quite how the Insurers will react is something we are keen to find out as quickly as possible, but it is that time of year.
The history of what has happended...........

a. forestay broke 3 days out from Azores to mainland Portugal - 6 weeks in Ponta Delgada for repairs and new Reckmann furler (August 2010)
1. Had full rig inspection in Lanzarote - noticed some rust on nuts holding lower shrouds at main mast to a point just below the spreaders.
2. In Las Palmas contacted rigger and asked for further inspection of shrouds and spreaders - alas kept missing appointments
3. Contacted second rigger in Las Palmas who inspected main mast. Said a weld on the port side lower shroud attachement point could do with replacingbut was not critical, made no specific point about nuts - took photos.
4. Original rigger called to make another appointment - inspected shrouds and main mast and said the nuts (x2) holding each pair of lower shrouds to main mast should be replaced and the weld needed to be fixed - took plate away for welding. Returned later pm and re-attached shrouds with 4 new stainless steel nuts and re-attched re-welded plate. We relaxed.
5. Just after 18:30pm on18th December crew noticed starboard lower shrouds "wobbling" - worrying as we were on starboard tack. Went forward to
investigate deck attachement points and made to get ready to drop sails. Unfortunately mast toppled over port side taking everything with it, including Parasailor. Crew releases pins and tackled shrouds, backstay and forestay/furler with hacksaws, wrenches, and bolt croppers to release rig. All deck points remain secure as does mast boot - as the shrouds failed the middle of the mast wobbled uncontrollably and the base of the mast came freeof the boot.
5. Alerted authorities and set course for nearest landfall, Barbados.

The standing rigging was replaced in 2004 and has a "standard" lifetime of around 10 years before it should be replaced.

We may never know in full but naturally we are concerned that the riggers involved may have understated or not understood the nature of the problem and the root cause may not have been identified. However you do tend to trust" professionals.
We are now tidying up the boat now that our guests have returned to the UK so will have a quiet few weeks while we wait to events to take their course. Clint is getting specifications worked up for the mast folks in the US to get a build ready for shipment in January after the holidays. If the insurers are happy with this, and we get the sails cut as soon as the rig is fitted, we may be able to look to leave Barbados in mid-February. However plans may yet change -please watch this space!
Glad to stay that both Nick and Phil are back in the UK having made their connecting flights from St Lucia - a great relief for them and us, and no doubt their employers!!
As we are going to be stationary fro a while we though we'd tot up the miles we've travelled this year - since the beginning of May we have sailed, motored and drifted 5096 nautical miles......wheew!
More in due course.......
Andrew & Susan
S/V Andromeda