Monday, January 3, 2011

Strong winds overnight and this morning are great for my battery bank, which is almost full, but not too good for sailing around. As I want to see the official first Michael Beans show this afternoon I'll stay put today, or perhaps motor across Leverick and take a mooring ball during the day in order to do some laundry and get some shopping done ashore. I'm fairly certain that taking a space at the dock today won't be any fun as Leverick can get a bit choppy in inclement weather.
Well, another exciting day. I'd just written the previous paragraph, checked the WindGuru weather and made another espresso and had made myself comfortable in the cockpit and watched the day go by. I noticed a Moorings 30-some footer drifting beam-to downwind with the bow pointed towards me and couldn't see anyone aboard. Since the condition of the mooring balls is rather suspect this year I thought they might have broken a mooring so I went to the dinghy to see if something could be done before the boat hit an anchored private ketch.
As I approached I could see two people aboard running around (who I later found out were Ben and Jemima) and when I got close enough to converse they told me that their engine wasn't working and they were having trouble. So I joined them aboard and first asked them to anchor, but then we checked the depth it was 60 feet and we didn't know how much chain the charter boat had aboard but I remember hearing that they didn't have much, so we opted to raise the sails in order to get steerage. I'm not conversant with “real“ mainsails but the Ben said that because of the battens and lazy jacks we needed to get the boat pointed into the wind but since we had no control and were drifting broadside-to we couldn't go that route, so we decided to unfurl the genoa. As the wind was about 20 knots and we just needed enough speed to weave through the anchorage we proceeded to put out about the equivalent of a king-sized bed sheet and that was sufficient to get us going along at a goodly speed.
The lee side of Prickly Pear island, just past the Sandbox, is an excellent anchorage with a big shelf of 20 feet and shallower sandy bottom, so I recommended that we head there and anchor in safety and ease while trying to figure out what the problem with engine was. The anchor windlass didn't work and we spent some time below decks looking for the breaker, an easy task with 3 people aboard), when we finally found it we were already in perfect position to anchor and just bore into the wind until our speed was down and dropped the hook. I think I put out about 80 feet in 12 feet of water, so the boat should safely ride out the expected weather. Later on I realized that the depth of 12 was absolute and not under the keel and that due to back winding we only had a foot or two beneath the keel and rudder, and Ben later re-anchored in deeper water
While the engine was chugging merrily along and would give that reassuring “thunk” when put in gear, no thrust was being produced. While we were talking about diving the shaft to if it might be fouled the Moorings boat based at Saba arrived and the technician started removing stuff from the aft cabin to get at the shaft. I took a quick look at the prop and there was no rope wrapped around it but something looked odd (later I realized that was because the prop was against the rudder). The technician then confirmed that the shaft had separated, later on he brought out the coupling and we could see that the brass locking pin had sheared cleanly off. Note that this trip was the first one on this a brand-new Bénéteau. Ben snorkeled and tried to push the prop and shaft fully back into the boat but couldn't move it so the Moorings technician said he'd come back later with a diver.
Luckily the shaft hadn't fallen out but had been stopped by the rudder, but we couldn't budge it by snorkeling. I have dive gear, but no tank, so the Moorings gent said he'd get a diver (or a tank and call me, if no diver was available) to bang it back in. I spoke with the couple for a while and am now back aboard (with a present of some beer and Coca-Cola - I should have waited one extra day before buying the expen$ive stuff at the BEYC. I paid them a visit later on with my underwater snapshot camera to see if I could get a picture, but arrived simultaneously with the work boat and diver so didn't have much time as the diver (with the help of a crowbar) managed to budge the shaft and push it back in.
Later on in the afternoon Ben and Jemima stopped by on their way to pay the diver bill (which they would get reimbursed by Moorings) and after they departed I had a quick shower and then headed over to Leverick for the Michael Beans official first show. The show was great, but the weather had kept boats from sailing up to the North Sound and thus it wasn't too crowded. The audience might have been lacking in numbers but made up for that with their enthusiasm.

As fate would have it, Michael Beans had his dinghy sink off Prickly Pear (quite close to where we'd anchored Hull 11) and Rob had agreed to assist in refloating it and I offered to join in on the fun and games the next day.

I took quite a few pictures of the first show and posted them here

Ben aboard hull 11 Ben from the UK aboard the charter boat from Moorings (which is so new it doesn't even have a name yet) where the locking pin to the propellor shaft broke and they lost engine power; and would have lost the boat had the rudder stock not stopped the shaft from dropping of the back of the boat.
[18°30'17.61"N 64°22'14.32"W ]
Ben aboard hull 11
Moorings repairing boat This charter boat from the Moorings, despite being brand new, would have lost the prop shaft the rudder not stopped it from coming out all the way. The locking pin had sheared straight off.
Moorings repairing boat
Repairwork underwater This charter boat from the Moorings, despite being brand new, would have lost the prop shaft the rudder not stopped it from coming out all the way. The locking pin had sheared straight off.
[18°30'18.01"N 64°22'14.97"W ]
Repairwork underwater
Jemima and Ben Jemima and Ben taking a look at Zanshin I after they manage to escape losing their engine power on a gusty day in the North Sound of Virgin Gorda on the BVI. They'd just let loose their mooring when the engine quit giving thrust and I gave them a hand in setting sail around the corner to Prickly Pear.
[18°30'5.6"N 64°21'57.28"W ]
Jemima and Ben
Jumbies Bar at Leverick One of the bartenders at Jumbies Bar at Leverick Bay Resort on Virgin Gorda in the BVI. Here she's dressed up as a pirate for Michael Beans' first-ever performance at this venue.
[18°29'50.91"N 64°23'10.54"W (facing S)]
Jumbies Bar at Leverick
Leverick Stage The new stage built especially for the Michael Beans happy hour shows at Leverick Bay in the North Sounds of the BVI. The yellow superstructure of the stage is from the old mast of Michael's schooner, Mangele.
Leverick Stage
A BVI Pirate A BVI Pirate
[18°29'50.98"N 64°23'10.96"W ]
A BVI Pirate
Pamela, Lauren and Rob Pamela, Lauren and Rob at the Michael Beans happy hour show
Pamela, Lauren and Rob
Guitar playing pirate Guitar playing pirate
Guitar playing pirate
Happy Hour guests Happy Hour guests
Happy Hour guests
Pirate kid's monocles These special pirate eye coverings / monocles for kids are more commonly know as shells.
Pirate kid's monocles
Michael Beans and Pamela Michael Beans and Pamela at Leverick Bay
Michael Beans and Pamela
Conch blowing winners The winners of the Michael Beans happy hour show conch shell blowing contest - those with the most wind.
Conch blowing winners
Late party arrivals Late party arrivals
Late party arrivals
Pirate Songs Pirate Songs
Pirate Songs
Nick Laudatio Nick giving a laudatio after the first ever happy hour show by Michael Beans at Leverick Bay in the North Sound of Virgin Gorda in the BVI.
Nick Laudatio

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