Tuesday, February 15, 2011

This morning we took a test sail around parts of St. Barths and Île Pele and Île Boulanger in good conditions and nothing or nobody fell off the boat during the process. The couple was aboard a big Mooring 4600 catamaran with two other couples and they needed to head into town in order to clear in. I invited myself along, towing my dinghy, so that I could clear out and didn't have to dinghy in both directions and that turned out to have been somewhat of a mistake, at least with the intent of saving time. We passed through a gauntlet of cruise ships and mega-mega yachts and just before reaching the anchorage the dinghy painter (which I'd fastened to a cleat) popped off and we did a big dinghy-overboard manoeuvre. Fortunately the long painter floated so it wasn't too difficult to pick it up. After that we found a spot in 30 feet of water to anchor and then the problems began. The anchor windlass didn't even give a dismal <click> when the remote was pressed. The breaker switch was localized and found to be turned on but despite the best efforts, nothing was working. The plan of dropping the anchor by loosening the windlass gypsy was quickly discarded as nobody wanted to winch in the heavy chain and under sized anchor by hand. We finally opened up another section of the cushions and found the relay; I used a screwdriver to manually short out the high-power portion and the windlass electronics whirred away, so we lowered the anchor using that method. By the time the chain had been let out, the screwdriver had gotten so warm that the paint on the chrome part was smoking! Despite letting all the chain out, the anchor just didn't want to hold and I used a spanner (held with an oven glove) to raise it; this time I had a glass of water handy and the spanner actually hissed when I placed it in the water to cool/harden. We repeated this process and dove on the anchor in the crystal-clear waters of Gustavia and despite the bottom being sandy and clear of any growth the anchor wouldn't dig in but just drag sideways along the bottom. In the end we set the anchor in 20 feet instead of 25 and used a second kedge anchor (a smaller “claw” type) which held better than the main anchor. What an ordeal and I realized that I have been unfair to charter boats having trouble anchoring - their ground tackle could also be at fault and the big cat had a smaller anchor than mine and probably less than 100 feet of chain!

Ile Boulanger Ile Boulanger
[17°57'36.71"N 62°58'36.81"W ]
Ile Boulanger
Daysail around St. Barths The Bartons from the U.K. had shown interest in buying Zanshin I and we went for a day sail around some of the islands off St. Barths.
Daysail around St. Barths
Le Grand Blue Yacht Le Grand Blue Yacht
Le Grand Blue Yacht
Luna yacht pool The aft pool area doubles as a helicopter landing platform.
Luna yacht pool
Luna yacht toys All that room for toys on the left, then the official guest arrival area on the right.
Luna yacht toys
Luna Yacht at anchor Luna Yacht at anchor
Luna Yacht at anchor
Bagheera cat William steering the large charter Catamaran into Gustavia on St. Barths.
Bagheera cat

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