I don’t really know where to start! Firstly, and most importantly, we have arrived safely, although not, entirely, in one piece!
The Manta was purchased on the basis of it being an ocean going craft. It is so credited with an EEC RCD certification.
In the event, in Force 7 winds and equivalent seas , Beesmej sustained serious damage. It, really, all started with the track, up which the mainsail is hoisted. Whoever installed the track failed to apply Loctite Thread Locker to the screws holding the track against the mast. At least one of these screws worked loose, just after I had hoisted the mainsail. Everything, which followed, was the direct consequence of this negligence. I couldn’t reduce sail, when winds became severe; and, of course, I couldn’t lower the sail, at all. Consequently, I couldn’t reduce speed, with ever increasing wind speeds. I did my best to control speed, by allowing the wind to “spill” out of the sail; but, we still went too fast..
Maggie & I have sailed Cats for 16 years. Whenever there are waves, the waves become compressed between the two hulls; this causes “slamming”. Prouts, at one time, produced a Nacelle between the hulls, in an effort to disperse the wave energy passing between the hulls. It was not a great success. None of the previous Cats, sailed by us, had anytthing like the explosive slammings in the Manta. Plates, glasses and cups erupted from the dining table, spewing their contents everywhere. At some point, it was noticed that the galley sink complex had moved away from the bulhead. Indeed, each slam made the sink jump into the air! On one such occasion, the explosion was such as to cause the water tap to open and drain our fresh water tank! . Then, the floor began to separate from the control panel/chart table complex! This was very disconcerting, as I, almost, expected to see ocean through the gap! Each slam made the floor jump and the gap got bigger. There is, now, a 1/4 inch gap present.
I decided to stop the yacht; a process we call heaving-to. She hove-to well; but, we were, still, moving at 1.5kn. 12 ft waves began to attack our beam and we rolled, uncomfortably. I took down the jib and deployed our sea anchor. We took the waves at 45 degrees and were more comfortable The Main was still up, as I could not bring it down. We had a good night’s sleep; but, I awoke in the morning with Beesmej in an unhappy roll. The line attached to the sea anchor had snapped, under the heavy loads imposed by big seas. We were, now, travelling backwards at 4kn…not good news for the rudders. I decided to raise our storm jib in order to control our speed; in this, I was successful.
We arrived at Virgin Gorda on Friday morning with our diesel tank showing “Reserve”! I have contacted our insurers, who sent their assessor to us on Saturday. He will do a full survey of Beesmej, Monday.
Meanwhile, the track has been secured and the damaged mainsail will be shipped to a sail loft in Tortola for repair.
Beesmej may need to be hauled out in order to effect repairs to the flooring. Various pieces of furniture are no longer where they started: fridge/freezer, galley sink complex and chart table have all dropped. The insurance assessor will decide what best to do, when he has completed his survey. So, once again, we are stuck in a marina! Once Beesmej has been resuscitated, we will head south to either Bequia or Barbados. Pro tem, we are both demoralised and fed up. Hopefully, things will get better from now on.
posted Sunday November 2008