16 February, 2016
The next few days at New Providence were quite windy. Surprise! Saturday night and Sunday, the surge out of the north continued, wrapping around the point, and hitting us directly on the beam (as the wind out of the east had us pointed in that direction). First thing Sunday morning, we deployed the flopperstopper, which decreased our roll considerably. I’ll try to describe the flopperstopper. On one side of the Girl, we have a padeye fixed to the hull just below the caprail, about 3’ off the water. Into this padeye, we fix a 10’ long whiskerpole (basically a boom for a spinnaker on a sailboat). This boom extends perpendicular to the long axis of the boat. At its outboard end, 3 lines are attached which come back to the boat; one to the top of the mast, to keep the pole level, and one each to the bow and stern, to keep the pole perpendicular to the boat. From the bottom of the outboard end of the pole is a line which extends around 6’ below the surface of the water. At the underwater end of this line, a hinged stainless steel panel is attached, which offers resistance to being pulled through the water. The overall effect is that the rolling motion of the boat is damped. The system works quite well, and would work even better if there was a pole on the opposite side of the boat. In fact, we think that we’ll buy another “fish” and hang it off the boom, cranked out on the port side. (When we built “Alizann”, we weren’t sure about our crazy idea, so thought we’d just do one side in case it was a total bust.) I’m not sure how that explanation worked out, but I’ll throw a couple of pictures up when we get decent Interweb. I tore up the outboard motor again, pulled the old fuel pump, and replaced it with the new. I’ll run carburetor cleaner through the old one, vacuum bag it, and keep it as a spare. We dropped “White Star” into the water, and made some test runs around the anchorage. he afternoon was spent chillaxin’ in the sun up on the boat deck in the lee of the bridge, out of the 18 knot winds , and bein’ warm and toasty. I was smilin’-between the winderators and the solar panels, we were puttin’ money in the bank. Our battery charge rose as the day wore on, in spite of our constant energy consumption-“Yeah, Baby”! Holy Mahi Tacos! ‘Em shur made a great dinner paired with a vinegar-based coleslaw and fresh veggies. By evening, the swell subsided and the Girl rode well in the gusty (up to 22 knots) conditions. The sunset as viewed off our back porch was awesome.
The seas were predicted to subside by Tuesday, making it a good travel day, so we spent most of the day on Monday doing-you it, guessed it-boatchores. Suz grabbed her preptools and varnish brush, touching up areas in the galley, and portlights over our bed. Meanwhile, I washed and waxed small areas outside. This is an ongoing deal. We just work our way around the boat. When we’re done, we start over again. Not real rewarding, but necessary to protect the fiberglass, and keep the rust at bay on the stainless. During the early evening, the wind shifted to the southeast, and the swell was back. It rained off and on, but no thunderstorms, even though they had been predicted. During the early hours, the flopperstoppers’ block at the top of the mast started squeaking LOUDLY, inducing that half-sleep, restless mode. We were both more than ready for sunup, so that we could get up and go. We ran down the Tongue of the Ocean so that we could wet a few lines in the deep water, but after an hour or so with no bites, we abandoned that course. A beeline to Highborne Cay would get us there by 1500 or so, as opposed to arriving around dusk, so we plotted a new course across the shallow banks. We weren’t sure where we were going to anchor at Highborne, as there looked like several possibilities, so we wanted to get there when the sun was still fairly high. All the while, we were watching a line of thunderstorms moving east across Florida at 20 mph, and wondering if they’d peter out before they reached us. We were rolling along with the watermaker crankin’ out some fresh water, when I noticed that the water tank gauges are droppin’notrisin’. What? No sinks running. Suz opens the midship machinery compartment, only to find that water is gushing in from somewhere up under the sole on the port side. I jump down, and shut off the valves on the tanks while Suz turned off the water pump. Of course, the leak stopped, but not before we lost 100 gallons of precious water. It took a while to find it, but a hose clamp on a barbed nipple had failed, allowing the hose to pop off (it was double-clamped, but apparently the second clamp wasn’t placed correctly). The good news was that the wine cellar got a good cleanout as I wiped and shopvac’d out the water that the bilge pump missed. (Note to self-Maybe I should install a high water alarm in that compartment too).
After a seven hour cruise on this 71 degree, windy, overcast day, we pulled into the lee of Highborne Cay, and dropped anchor in 13 feet of water. We dinghied into the small manmade harbor to check out the boats there, a couple of hundred footers, and a few sportfishers. They’re pretty proud of their dock, wanting $10 to land the tender, so we satisfied ourselves with a “from the water” tour, as there was nothing on land to attract us. We were itching to get south, and hopefully, to better weather. It looked like Shroud Cay would be a nice next stop for us on our way down the chain, so we planned to head there the next day.
Sorry about the wierd page layout, but we're working on some format changes. Finally got a good cell signal, so we'll get some blogs up.
Hasta la Vista