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Melissa & Dave - Adventures at Sea

Frogman needed

April 28, 2015

We are continuing to pound across the Caribbean Sea in 8-10 foot seas.  Everything is wet.  We have completely filled the cockpit several times.  In fact it is so wet that light fixtures stay on even when you turn the switch off because salt water is completing the connection within the light switches.

We were down below checking on our progress when we heard a huge “BANG!” on deck.  We ran up to find the heavy winds had broken a jib sheet (one of the lines that runs to the forward most sail).  We got the jib sail back under control, but getting the boat pointed back the right way required turning on the engine.  We were careful to get all the lines back on board, but one managed to escape us in the high winds and promptly got wrapped around the rudder and prop.  The boat was controllable, but the steering was stiff.  We pondered how to fix it. It was two days back to the nearest marina or a day back to the nearest bay. We did not want to keep going forward with a compromised rudder but wasting 2-5 days did not sound like fun either. The steering was OK now but who knows what might happen in the waves. Mike put a mask on to take a look. Dave headed the boat up to windward slowing the boat down to 1 knot and Mike stuck his head in the water from the swim step to see what was up. Indeed, we wrapped it up good. Doh!  Mike realized the water pressure wasn't too bad since we could (momentarily) get the boat slowed down so he decided to go in. Mind you, it is blowing 20-25 knots at this point with 8 foot seas. Down he goes with a knife, safety line and a line draped from the front to pull forward on. A half dozen dives later, we were free. Each dive required Dave to head down wind to get enough speed to turn up into the wind and stop the boat for a while. We covered 3.5 miles during the operation which took just over an hour to accomplish.  We were able to get the sheets re-rigged without too much difficulty.

Later, one of the diesel cans on deck was pounded so hard by the wind and waves that the gas can cap blew clean off.  We had diesel gas running down the decks – because when the waves would hit the can, it would flex and spit out gas.  Mike had to go forward and fix it as best he could with some tinfoil and duct tape.  But it’s still leaking a small stream of gas.  

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