At Anchor in Rodney Bay in St. Lucia
Mon 24 Dec 2012 04:47
Position 14:05.3N 60:57.66W
St. Thomas to St. Lucia, 334 NM in 2d-4h-45m average speed 6.5 knts.
Very nice sail on a reach first and then close reach with 15 to 22 kts of wind.
A bit bumpy and not very comfortable to sail with always the boat at a 15-20 degree angle.
Between the solar and the wind generator there would have been no need to run the engine at all.
Except while passing the leeward side of the tall Islands. Even if I was sailing at 45 NM
from Guadeloupe the winds suddenly died down for about 2-3 hours. The same for Domenica and Martinique.
On the other hand in between the island the winds were the strongest since the winds must funnel in the passages.
I used also the engine for the last 4 hours while approaching Rodney Bay. The course was a close reach and actually close
to a non-sailable angle of 20-25-degree to port but I wanted to maintained the average for making a landfall before sunset.
Got in Rodney Bay at 4pm with plenty of light to choose a nice anchorage, not difficult at all in this very large but well frequented
Now about the bilge pump issues ...
The original plan was to leave St. Thomas on Wednesday since I got to Red Hook on Tuesday.
However when I got to the boat I found all my battery near to be dead.
This is what I believed it may have happen:
The bilge switch of the 1st bilge pump got stacked in the on-position.
The switch is an electronic type (which is supposed to be more robust and fault proof than the mechanic ones) and relay on sensing conduction thru sea water between two
electrodes. However, as the instructions mentioned, "sometimes" dirt get on the switch causing false on-state.
I was able to start the engine using the spare AGM batteries that I keep
(starter battery and house batteries were both connected).
But even that was not easy. I first try to use car jumping cables, I tried connecting the AGM battery to the battery terminals (after disconnecting the near dead batteries). then even try the jumping cable connecting to the engine starter. Both without success. Only by connecting the battery using the screw-in cable (basically replacing the dead starter battery with the AGM battery)
the engine started. With the jumping cable there was too much resistance in the contact made by the spring alligator-type connection.
I stay at a slip at the marina in Red Hook to re-charge the batteries and after near 48 hours all batteries are back to be ok.
I also examined the bilge pump and because of the excessive running the ball-bearing of the arm was broken and needed to be replaced.
Luckily the chandelier at Red Hook had the right spare part.
So I also used Wednesday to fix repair the bilge pump.
However just as I was pulling out of Red Hook on Thursday the alarm signaling too long bilge pump engagement went off and for the all
trip to St. Lucia I had to rely on the second bilge pump.
Today I discovered that the problem was a simple set-screw that got loose and need it to be tight back.
Sailing to St. Lucia from St. Thomas
From Blue Note at Rodney bay with Pigeon Island on the background