Friday, April 5, 2013

A sailor's story

The 31st of March we left our anchorage at Allans-Pensacola, heading West to Mangrove Cay to get ready for our crossing over to Fort Pierce, time of departure 12:00 on April 1st.  What we didn't know is that during the day our engine sprung a leak!  Just before pulling anchor at 12:00 Pierre decides to check the oil level to find out that the engine room has oil everywhere???  So what do you do when you are in the middle of nowhere, not a town near you and you are ready to cross, after discussing our problem we decide to continue with our plans and cross anyway, checked to see how much oil we had on reserve, good lots of the away we go!

We were 9 boats, just to name a few, Flyer, Old Sam, Snover, Sea Wings IV and Te Amor (sorry but I don't have the others names).  Big discussions between all of us during the day concerning the weather, our only updates were from NOAA, no one had Internet connections and Chris Parker does not broadcast on Sunday...we all decide okay NOAA is saying seas 2' to 4' with the occasional 5' swell, winds SSE 9 to 17 knots, going to SSW 6 to 11 knots. Ha Ha Ha!  What we did get was seas was 5' to 6' with occasional 8' to 9', winds S sustained 20 to 25 knots with gusts to 30+ knots.

Leaving Mangrove we put up our sails, to the East of us we could see lightning, no big deal, we aren't going that way, we were so glad the winds were good sailing weather, we had a 4 hour sail to reach Memory Rock on Little Bahama Bank and on to the ocean and the Gulf Stream after that.  Just before reaching Memory Rock the winds picked up, we had to roll in the Genoa, but we left the Main up, we were still running without the motor.  After we passed Memory Rock, all hell breaks loose, the winds really bad, the seas really high and Odyssey IV rolling in a high speed washing machine.  Waves crashing on the port side, Pierre, my hero,  getting wet and to add to this misery, one wave came down to the cabin and shorted our GPS (USB cable), no more chart plotter, all that is left is a small hand held GPS and this for the rest of our crossing.  One wave picked Odyssey IV by the stern and made her do a 180 degree turn, happened so fast we didn't know what hit us!  Another wave hit us so bad, we thought the boom had broken off, the noise was incredible.  At one point oil leak or not we had to put the engine on, so we would run about 2 hours and we had to add at least a gallon of oil, try doing that in the angry seas, well we did it.  Finally, we get daylight, the sea was awesome to see, I can't say I was scared, :-), I was to busy being sea sick, a first for me!  I was sitting in the cock-pit and all around us were walls of waves much higher than Odyssey IV, everyone of them slamming into the boat.   Pierre was at the helm the whole time, I wasn't able to hold Odyssey IV in those waves.

My hero, Pierre the perfect Captain

So here we are in heavy seas, no navigation, engine problems and all of a sudden water spouts forming not too far from the boat, that's all we needed!  Lucky for us they went in another direction, one of them was huge, we could see the water being sucked up...awesome!

On we go, at around 15:00 we reach about 15 miles from Fort Pierce inlet when we run out of oil, so we call Tow Boat US, and by this time I was just wishing they would come and get us!  At first they wanted to just bring us oil and said we could sail in, oh yeah, the waves were calming down 2 to 4' but no wind, like I said to the Tow Boat person, all we are doing is going finally around 17:00 they came and towed us to Harbortown Marina, Fort Pierce.  We were tied up to a dock at 19:45, and so glad the day was over!

Our hand held GPS says we did max speed over the ground at 11.3 knots....wind plus current can be wicked.

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