The trouble with boats

Suzie Too - Western Caribbean
David & Suzanne Chappell
Sat 23 Jan 2010 15:35
Just when I thought the land was dangerous - it seems there can be trouble out here as well

Stainless Steel Anchor Chain
As Suzanne has mentioned we spent New Years Day out on African Seawing anchored at Farol da Barra for an open air concert by a local celebrity group and thought we would enjoy the sound and light show from the comfort for a boat. As we went to leave Martha and I went forward to recover the anchor with Frank, (the anchor is at the bottom of the mast and they have a complicated bridle arrangement) only to notice that we seemed to be drifting in the strong current. I said to Frank he should get on the helm and drive the boat, but he was concerned that the anchor might get stuck. Anyway after a few seconds we were very close to the rocks and started crunching the hulls over the top of them so Frank dashed back and drove the boat ahead to move us away from the rocks. Martha and I continued to recover the anchor only to have the end of the stainless steel chain slap on the under side of the trapeze without the CQR anchor !! - the anchor was gone !!

We motored back safely to the marina and thought that the shackle must have come undone or broken, however in the morning Frank checked the anchor chain only to find 25 meters was missing. He went out with Marcelo in the RIB to try and recover it, but it was never found.

So the moral of the story is stainless chain might look pretty, but it has no "give" in it and can break without warning. Frank now has 80 metres of galvanised chain and a new anchor.

Boat Collision
All of us have spent time at Morro da Sao Paulo with the wooden ferry boats hurtling past at high speed - always flat out and just a few metres from us. I am concerned that with a blue hull and just the anchor light 20 metres up on the mast we are not very visible and shall be looking at LED deck lights to light up the boat for security - to deter people coming onboard at night and to improve our visibilty for collision avoidance.

Unfortunately at 0830 when they were all in bed Dame Oui was rammed, T boned, at full tilt by one of these ferry boats so hard that some passengers on the ferry fell overboard. The result was that Dame Oui was hit so hard that the hull and deck separated at midships and part of the toe rail was ripped off, but no one sustained injuries on Dame Oui, they were just very frightened and distressed.

They motored back up to Salvador da Bahia and Marcelo and his boys came up with a repair plan which was modified and directed by Jean Michel, liaising with the Jenneau factory in France on how to successfully repair the sandwich cores and make them water tight - and she has sailed out yesterday with just 2 metres of aluminium toe rail missing, but perfectly sound and repaired.

Lightening Strikes
We are surrounded by huge weather systems every night and into the early morning when we have a short heavy shower and have to close the hatches whilst sleeping. At anchor in the evening we sit and watch the electrical storms lighting up the sky and hope they don't come our way, but for Havanita it did - whilst at anchor in Morro da Sao Paulo and took out his NKE navigation computer and Autopilot - but Marcelo has come to his rescue with a secondhand repaired Raymarine unit and after sea trials last night Havanita has left 1 day late.

So then you think, well at least we are safe in the marina - not so - Quand Meme III woke up in the night to the smell of smoke and found they had been zapped and all their Raymarine systems are down - all burned with the 12v fuses still intact. So they have ordered some replacements from France and now have to sit and wait for them to arrive before they can continue north to the Amazon

I am sure we will have lots more stories from the Amazon - I just hope we can solve them all, because from here to the Caribbean there will be very few opportunites to make significant repairs.

In the meantime Marcelo and his team are fitting my shiny new Spinnaker VPS System which arrived from Southern Spars on Thursday, and is why we are now more than 1 day behind schedule, but at least we will be safe when sailing downwind . I spoke with Bruno of Tengivag yesterday and he had his fitted in Madeira, cos as he found out it was no fun sailing downwind from Portugal without one - remember as I said - please don't leave home without one !!

Some piccies of the new pole system being fitted and a sad marina where all our friends have left without us for Joao Pessao

Farewell on the Pontoon

Boys having a sleep over while Havanita has the lightening damage repaired and goes for sea trials

Just Suzie Too and Quand Meme III

Don't drill my sail or radar cable !!

My dodgy elbow - a ruptured bursitis according to the hospital

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