HSBC to the rescue

Dick and Irene Craig
Mon 31 Jan 2011 12:20
It seems a pity that the wharf construction and the rock-fall protection program on the island of St Helena have used external contractors to do the job rather than using any local people. There is not a great deal of work available on the island and the local people did feel that some of them should have had an opportunity to gain employment within these projects. They have the skills.
The sea had become quite uncomfortable during the morning of our final day in James Bay so had we not been there for 72 hours, we would have left the mooring that day to make passage to Salvador, Brazil.
Several boats had already departed, some the night of the BBQ, hosted by the Yacht club, others subsequently. Kalliope arrived during the morning of our departure, Saturday 22nd January, Chessie after our departure that same afternoon. Crazy Horse and Ocean Jasper were still at sea.
We didnât see the dolphins which had greeted us on arrival, as we left James Bay. They had been bigger than the dolphins that we had generally seen during this circumnavigation, with quite large, sturdy dorsal fins. One of the other participants said that they had been Asian pacific spotted dolphins but I couldnât find any reference to them in my book.
We flew the parasailor for the first five hours then as night fell and the wind was increasing in strength, took it down, unfurled the genoa and sailed with just the foresail which was replaced by the parasailor again, next morning. The moderate sea gradually became slight, as did the wind strength, by 7am on Monday morning.
On the SSB net on Saturday, Thor V1 reported that having completed his circumnavigation, he had also a broken forestay but everything was under control.
In the early hours of Monday morning I could see the Scorpion in the sky quite clearly despite the light from the partial moon.
The freezer on Jeannius which had already been fixed in South Africa, at least twice, stopped working again. Mike and Jean have had to move their meat to the coldest part of their fridge. After a few days at sea, Mike managed to fix the freezer.
Tziganyâs fridge has been playing up ever since they left Cape Town. Sometimes it is fine and other times not so.
On the SSB net Wednesday morning, John said that they were hand steering as their auto-pilot had stopped working. It looks as if the course computer isnât communicating with the hydraulic steering mechanism. They had to hand steer at least half of the passage to Brazil .â Building arm muscles,â said John.
The wind finally went round to ESE Wednesday morning and we were at last able to sail down wind with the parasailor rather than having to fly it sometimes at as little as 112Â off the wind which occasionally caused it to collapse.
Bev has had a neck pain since we left Cape Town but the pain moved to her arm after we had left St Helena. We think that it is a trapped nerve and hauling herself up with her arms, when she climbed Jacobs Ladder, has aggravated it. Guess it will be time for her to see a chiropractor when we reach Brazil.
Both Bev and Lela from Tzigany climbed Jacobs Ladder in under 10 minutes though Lela completed the climb slightly faster than Bev. Neither Moe nor Chris, Lelaâs other half, got close.
I do not have the stamina/energy that I had when we left St. Lucia at the beginning of January last year. It is either that I am getting older or that the effort expended in doing the trip has taken its toll. Way back at the beginning of last year, if I was on the 5am-7am watch, or its equivalent, I wouldnât bother to go back to bed at the end of the watch. In those days I shared the watches equally with the rest of the folk on board as well as doing all the cooking and the washing. Now, I do go back to bed for a couple of hours after that watch. My weight is also down 5Kg, to 50Kg and I need to wear a belt to stop my shorts slipping over my hips..
Having returned to bed soon after 7am on Thursday I was woken at 8.30am by the ringing of the satellite phone. It was HSBC fraud department wanting to talk to Dick who was on watch. I stood in for him while he dealt with the call. HSBC have been brilliant in sorting out the problem regarding the money which had been withdrawn fraudulently from our account, via ATM machines, while we were in Cape Town.
Friday morning at 6.15, the personal MOB alarm (man over board) was set off again by the watch keeper thus waking the entire boat. It is amazing that it is always the same people who accidentally set off the alarm, while others have never done so.
Dick had hung up his life jacket after coming off watch at 5am on Friday morning and around three hours later, it self inflated. It must have heard me request that the life-jackets be serviced when we get to Brazil. I prefer the life jackets to be serviced every six months while we are wearing them every day. They get more use than most life jackets in a lifetime of sailing.