Friday the 13th yet?

Thu 12 Aug 2010 08:31
43:26N 04:25E

Yesterday we were really hammered, 36 hours sailing/motoring with hardly any sleep makes you tired. As a result, things did not go perfect and we made a few mistakes...

First, somewhere near Marseille, we were racing with a benetteau, probably same length. Slowly but surely we take over, than we tack. About an hour later, we notice, H predicted, that despite the overtaking, we are now about an hour off course :(
we tack again, drop the sails, go straight in the wind for about 10 miles.

And then, we hit a tree! That was really ridiculous. In the open sea, boom! Crack, grrr. We see the trunk being thrown behind the ship. Is our hull damaged? We try to remember the sound of the impact. We think we may be lucky, the engine is still running, we are still making way, so the propellor is still working. Steering works, looking good ;)
I then remember a message on the navtex, warning for a tree. I also remember I thought, o well, just a tree, I am not going to lookup the exact coordinates where it was last spotted. However, I learnt my lesson, next navtex info will be better used. We look up the old navtex message, print it, and archive it for the records in the logbook. "tree adrift. Location nn mm. Trunk 3meters by 40cm."

We cruise on, and are more looking at other details we may have NOT spotted. Oops, on the chart, we just passed a rocky area, just underneath the waterline. About 200 meters distance, so no accute danger now, but we did miss this risk in our preparation....

We pass a traffic lane, en route to the camarque. Wind is increasing, we are tuning the sails to speed up. We tack rather abrupt after a 'Cardinal' (a floating indication on which side to pass a danger), the jib is fallping for seconds and than boing, bang, the top-lid of the radar dome, mounted half-way the mast, comes loose, hits the decksaloon and drops in the water... We try a ManOverBoard procedure, but our little fella' is going already. not good, if it would rain now, the radar (kind of a microwave) is unprotected.

We sail on towards our anchoring area. Bang! We now hit a bouy indicating a fisher net. O o o.

H looks up the mast. Is that right? Now one of our lines got entangled near the radar connection, and we cannot use the main sail anymore. Aaarrrrgggghhhh!!

On we go. And on the chart and in the almanac things looked good, a bay in the Camarque, undeep and sandy. The closer we come, we notice this is not a bay as before. The Camarque is like holland, flat, underwater and in the wind. Kite surfers allover. Is this our anchoring with Bf 5? We check again, an hour further is a tiny marina. We change course and call them. In french and english, we explain/understand that we should be able to pass the 2.2meter deep entry of the harbor, and that someone will be there in an hour to help us moor. We go in slowly, slowly, and motor to the dude ashore, waving.

We put out 5 lines alongside the ship, Bf 5 means nothing now. Where do we pay for this nice, safe, calm night? The dude does not know. The office is closed. Try pay at 8am. We explain we leave before 6am. He does not know. We suggest to give him the money now, or put it in an enveloppe and post somewhere. He does not know. Fine. We are tired, but I have to get into the mast to check the radar damage and get the line cleared. H pulls me up, probably 10 meters, now I do notice the Bf 5 again, I move a bit here and there, line is clear. A, from H suggested to put some plastic on top of the open radar dome, but I just know it is not going to rain. Little did I know.

At 6am sharply we motor out of the marina, put up sails for our last trip, canet-en-rousillion, the dealer. We are already tired, but the sailing today is easy. Upto about 1 hour from canet. We had seen rain passing on the radar screen already and tried to sail around it. Eventually we are caught by rain, thunder and lightning. Then one of us spots water on the floor downstairs. We lift a tile and a HUGE amount of water is now visible. Quickly we overrule the auto-switch on the bilge pump, to manual. Huh? Why is the auto bilge pump not pumping autmomatically? No time. We keep on pressing the manual bilge pump button. It makes a humming sound, but more like a bee than a safe my life pump. We run outside, to the extra manual pump. We start pumping, and after 5 squeezes water flows, and then the pump lets loose. No more pumping! We try and call the dealer to standby and quickly get us of the water, no signal. The radar now also stops working... Are we sinking? We speed up max power to the marina. Has that tree made a hole in the boat? Will all electronics stop working soon? Is this going to get better?