Poweer? What Power........
andromeda of plymouth
Susan and Andrew Wilson
Sat 24 Dec 2011 00:13
Our first ARC party was the Welcome to St. Lucia party at a posh hotel on
the beach on Rodney Bay and great fun it was too. A cabaret band started
off the proceedings and they in turn were then followed by a very good
steel band who got the atmosphere going even more. The food was very good,
plenty of chicken and Indian snacks and the rum punch flowed. Susan,
having had a few, was naturally the first on the floor and “boogying” away
as only she can with honourable mentions from the singers in the band and
even invitation to go to another venue another night.....!
The following day we found the battery for the generator dead and having
charged it up for a few hours and finding it was still flat after another
generator run, decided a new battery was in order. We went towards
Castries with Lesley to source a new battery and after fitting it and the
generator chugging away nicely for a while, thought we had solved the
problem. Susan and Lesley went shopping with Susan returning with a very
nice pair of orange sandals (she has been just like a kid with these
shoes) and a dress to wear at New Year.
After our third stint on the finish line we returned to pick up a mooring
buoy in the marina as the berths were rapidly filling up, with more needed
as the fleet continued to arrive. Naturally the wind picked up as we and
one of the marina staff attempted to put a line on the buoy so it took a
few attempts plus a broken boat hook to get sorted.
After booking in once again, having a shower and catching up with James
and Lesley in the boatyard, we settled down to get a few hours of sleep to
recover - each finish line duty lasts 24 hours with boats arriving at all
hours of the day and night, a big commitment with little rest whilst on
During that night’s stint we finished 21 boats trying, to make sure they
could all hear us cheering and sounding fog horns as they crossed the
line. Some boats didn’t communicate with us at all leading to some
interesting times as we spotted them heading for the line and had to get
ready to take down their time as we tooted their finish. Two boats crossed
the line with failed engines (one of which was being manoeuvred using its
dinghy and outboard as propulsion) and one had a dodgy radio so we were
relaying berthing instructions between them and the ARC staff as they
approached the marina entrance. The closest finish we had was 4 seconds.
The picture we will post of Rothmans who was 4th over the finishing is a
very spectacular photo and thank you Tim Wright for that and the other
photos of Andromeda in the bay.
After our rest we dinghied over to Coba Libre where Lesley made us a very,
very nice supper and we spent a very pleasant evening chatting and playing
Mexican Train dominoes.
Our final duty was on Monday 12th and much quieter with us finishing 11
boats as by now the bulk of the fleet had arrived. There was even time
for a swim in the bouncy sea before Lesley and James came over in the
afternoon for a ‘Happy Hour’. Tuesday morning we tried the generator again
to charge up the laptop which we had been using to track the approaching
yachts, only to find the battery flat again. The generator, instead of
charging its own battery when running, appeared to actually be draining
it! We were not very happy folks but returned to the marina and to the
only space available on ‘I’ dock, the super yacht pontoon and felt very,
very small amongst the big yachts! However Tuesday was a bank holiday so
there was no one around to help with our problem with nothing else left to
do but chill and get some sleep ready for that evening’s party.
Tuesday night’s party was the Marina Manager’s do and eagerly awaited by
all. In the days leading up to it there was feverish activity around the
marina as a marquee was assembled, stage built and vividly coloured
decorations put in place. Arriving at the party we were given a mask to
wear and had we been a bit earlier Susan might have been given one of the
fancy feathery head dresses (she really wanted an orange one of course).
Rum punch, beer and other drinks were available and there was time to
circulate and chat with a few folk before the food was served.
Entertainment during the evening consisted of a live band and an energetic
dance troupe and soon we were both having a good jig about before
tiredness caught up with us and we headed off to bed.
Wednesday saw us tracking down someone to check out the generator which
had to have its battery charged up again before things could be sorted out
and in the meantime Susan went into Castries with Lesley and James who had
to pick something up from the post office there.
Thursday the guy returned and confirmed there was a problem with the
generator alternator so now we had to wait for the engineer. Lesley and
James upped anchor and set off for Martinque, we are hoping to catch up
with them for Christmas but first things first.
Friday morning Susan took the opportunity to go on one of the free ARC
tours and left Andrew waiting for the engineer who arrived at last, and
after some investigation we had some news, not quite what we were
expectin, as alongside the generator alternator messing about we once
again had no working alternator on the main engine (the very same unit
that was replaced in Las Palmas before we left on the ARC last year).
Here we go again - charging is still a bit of an issue for us but we hope
to get it sorted once and for all this time. Egbert very patiently tracked
down the problem and arranged for someone to come and remove the old
alternator being certain that he could source a replacement by the
following (Saturday) afternoon.
Saturday we waited looking forward to the evening and the ARC 2011 Prize
Giving. We had been invited by Andrew Bishop to attend the final closing
event of ARC 2011, finishing our own ARC 2010/2011 adventure. We’ve really
enjoyed our stay and “manning/womaning” the finish line and who knows
maybe we will do it again next year.
The alternator guys arrived at 3.30, we were due at the Prize Giving at
5pm. We anxiously watched and waited as they removed the old alternator to
discover that the pulley would have to be exchanged – so off they went for
a special tool. We rushed around getting ready with them reappearing as
we were locking up, to say they couldn’t do any thing now until
Getting on one of the last buses to the party’s venue we even managed to
find some seats to watch the presentation, all very exciting, then to our
surprise we were called up with the other finishing line folk to receive a
bottle rum as well as having our story told to everyone, thank you Andrew,
and we even got a big cheer....
During the last couple of weeks between everything else Susan has been
very busy with the sewing machine and has made some 10 cushions (6 for
Lesley and James plus table cloths and napkins for them as well). Very
industrious. In addition she has also made three sun dresses for herself,
patterned from one she already had, to use the material she bought in
Barbados and Trinidad – we will post some pictures of them as they look
Andrew has been no slouch either, having cleaned and polished vast areas
of Andromeda as well as varnishing and sorting out all sorts of bits and
pieces....we have to do something when we can’t go very far.
A very nice old St. Lucian took a shine to Susan as she wears orange most
days, calling out “Hello Mrs Orange” each time she walked past. He was
inspired to make a macrame belt for her complete with coconut shell
buckle, in orange, naturally. He tried to persuade her to buy a pair of
shoes but they were too small to be comfortable and has since made some
just the right size as well as a small shawl –orange of course being the
We had a text from Ian and Karen on holiday at present in Barbados
wondering if we were heading south as Barbados was very, very wet – sorry
we are still in St. Lucia and planning to head north, not south, but I
guess we are in the general vicinity. St. Lucia has had no rain for over a
week, so maybe it’s not just us the rain follows?
Sunday morning we did something different and went to Rodney Bay beach,
arriving as the tide was going out so we were able to enjoy the sand and a
swim in the sea – so warm and inviting and we even bumped into the folk
from h2o another of the finishing line boats before having lunch at
Spinnakers and very nice it was too – thank you Ruth for the
Another Monday arrived and at last things appear to be sorted, Egbert
spent most of the day on Andromeda and by the end our new alternator and
new regulator were doing what they were supposed to do – hurrah. We will
now be testing them over the next few days.
Tuesday morning saw us up bright and early and on our way to the marina
office to extend our stay, unfortunately we missed the weather window to
go north, if we had gone we would be doing battle with 20 to 25 knots of
wind, gusting to 30 knots, but more importantly, beating into 3metre plus
waves – no thank you - we can well do without that – so it looks like we
will be here for Xmas. We did have a bit of a surprise though, for as we
approached the office we heard someone calling out ‘hello Andromeda’ and
we saw some people we knew from Trinidad who had just arrived on their
catamaran Alberta Crewed. They will be here for the next week as well
before heading North to Miami and the boat show where they have been asked
to take their catamaran as a ‘show’ boat. We arranged to meet in evening
and ended up having a meal together and on Wednesday Susan showed Laurie
the local shops abandoning Andrew once again.
Today we have been off to get some more provisions whilst watching the
weather just in case there is a big enough lull so we can go and join
Lesley and James in Martinique but really that isn’t going to happen. At
least this year we can get some supplies and are really looking forward to
some scrummy food on Sunday.
Merry Christmas everybody, we hope you all have a really great time and
that it isn’t too cold and wet wherever you are, we promise we will be
thinking of you and will raise a glass or two. Thank you to everyone who
has sent us electronic cards we have enjoyed receiving them.
Chris we hope you had a great birthday too.
More in due course.
Susan & Andrew
photos 1 & 2 oil platform, 4 - 7 on the trip from Trinidad, 8 Andrew in
the lazarette,9 - 13 Tim Wrights photos of Andromed on the finish line,
14- Med Spirit the first over the line, leaving for Martinique,15 - the
16 Panchita,17 Phaedo,18 & 19 in the sea by the finishing line, 20 - Wind
Spirit (sister ship to Wind Surf)21-24 Rodney Bay beach and Spinnakers