Off Track Again

As some of you would have read in our last post, we have had even more problems with out boat. Just as it started looking like we were getting somewhere with things getting fixed, we had a section of our mast track ripped off! You got a brief idea of what happened in our last post but here’s the full story now.

After getting the work done at FKG, we stayed in Marigot Bay for a night and decided that we would make our way back to Oyster Pond to use our remaining time in the marina. On our way back, we had about 25 knots of wind which is quite strong and seas coming from more or less in front of us which means the boat slams a lot (the water hits the bottom of the deck). We were sailing along with just our mainsail (we had dropped our headsail at the sailmakers for some repairs) and we had the second reef in (only about half of the sail up), so, we were in no way overpowering the boat. We got about an hour and a half into it when we had a big slam that sent our kettle flying across the floor and some of our books tumbling off the shelves. That’s alright, nothing too major. However, that wasn’t all. Up on deck was a different story a piece of aluminium hit the deck followed by a bunch of ball bearings rained down around the mast. We quickly ran forward to see what was going on and saw one of the cars, that holds the sail to the mast and allows it to travel up and down smoothly, was now hanging from the sail. The combination of the wind and the slam had put enough force on the sail that, it had ripped a section of the mast track, that these particular cars travel on, right off, snapping two bolts clean in half in the process. Realizing we couldn’t fix it, we sailed on until we were at the entrance to Oyster Pond where we started to drop the sail. Of course, the reason the ball bearings rained down was because they weren’t secured in the cars, so, each car that came down with the sail dumped a bunch of ball bearings onto the deck and into the ocean. Of course, trying to catch the balls was the least of our worries at the time so we hurriedly dropped the mainsail and entered the safety of the marina.

This one piece falling off is the cause of our delays!

This one piece falling off is the cause of our delays!

The missing link and one of the snapped bolts

The missing link and one of the snapped bolts

That day, we checked the pricing of the ball bearings so we could order them and get back on track and they are so expensive. Turns out each ball is about $1 so, had we known this earlier, we would’ve tried to catch every last ball we could! We searched every inch of the boat, sails and lockers and found quite a few but we still neded about 400 and at $1 each, it wasn’t going to be cheap. Luckily, Markus found an American company selling them for half the price so we ordered them and they should be here in the next few days.

About $200 worth of plastic balls right there..

About $200 worth of plastic balls right there..

Once these ball bearings arrive, we will be heading up to the British Virgin Islands and spending a week or so there before we have to come back to St. Maarten to get our solar panels, water maker, freezer and other electronics fitted. From then on, we should be completely self sufficient and we can really start to enjoy cruising around the Caribbean!


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