Tuesday morning I got up at the regular time (at sun rise, which is around 6 in the morning). Most of the boat was already packed, so after breakfast I only needed to bring on board the kayak and we were ready to go.
Since I had set out two anchors, in a not completely successful attempt to avoid the rolling to the well, picking up anchors could become tricky. The set up was a bit reverse, with my kedge anchor (of the stern) into the wind. Anyway, I let out all the rode on that anchor and then started to pick up the CQR’s chain. That came out ok (I was afraid I would keep too much strain on the chain to pull the anchor out) and then just had to winch in the kedge anchor. It went so well, I could have managed without even running the engine (the wind was blowing away from the rocks), but I started the engine just in case.
Coming out of the bay I took things easy by sailing on just the genoa. The Kinstown bay has a lot of gusty winds, which seem to carry on pretty far out. Once a little further out the wind became less gusty, but things did not yet look like the picture perfect trade wind conditions I had been looking forward to. There were showers in the area, it was mostly overcast, and for the first 1 1/2 days there was plenty of work keeping the sails right with the wind. It wasn’t untill Wednesday noon time that the weather got settled and the wind direction and strength became more steady.
This really is our first running down a trade wind stretch. I must admit, it is not as easy going as I was hoping for. Plus I am still learning which sail configurations work and which don’t. After the first night I had learned that going down wind without any headsail at all is really uncomfortable. The boat keeps rolling and rolling, there is just no stopping to it. Then booming out the genoa is still an exercise that needs more practice. I tried again this morning, but never got the wind steady enough in the genoa to get the boom under the right angle. What I have set up now are a proper preventer line (which prevents an accidental gibe of the main). The first line I was using had a little brass eye clip on the end, after the one time that the preventer had to do its job (when the boat gibe during a repair of the windvane steering lines) I noticed that the eye was bent half open. So I replaced that with a thicker line and a stronger eye.
Right now I am running wing on wing with a reefed main and the staysail. This is pretty easy to set up, the only disadvantage is that there is not a down haul on the stay sail. Basically I rigged up a line from the end of its boom down to a block on a stancheon and than forward to a cleat (would prefer to bring the line backward, but the kayak is in the way). This works, though next time I want to try it with the block at the end of the boom. I think this will give me a better angle to hold the boom down and forward.
Not much to be seen so far. A few dolphins on the first afternoon, big ones, but they left quickly. Every now and than some flying fish. Seen about 5 freighters so far, one was pretty much parallelling us, at about 9 knots. I was amazed how long it actually took between coming in sight and disappearing beyond the horizon.
As we are at sea, the maintenance of the boat keeps going as well. Unfortunately a few problems showed up in this trip. The lights in the bath room stopped working (both), measured, there appears to be enough voltage, and the lights are ok. But, neither light works. Think there is poor contact in the wire common to both lights. Now, that could have occurred last Saturday, while I went into Kingstown I had forgotten to close the bathroom port light. Well, we had a good down pour that night, so quite likely some of the rain water manage to make it to the wiring. It will be interesting to fix that one, I am sure the wiring is going to be behind some hardly accessible panels.
Then yesterday I noticed the bilge pump running, well, that is nothing unusual, since runs automatically as it is connected to a float switch. But, it would keep running, an no water was coming out. And the pump is drawing almost 20 Amps. Spent all morning looking into this problem. The pump seems to run while put in a bucket of water. But, it should not be drawing that much current (looked it up in the catalog: supposed to be a 4A pump). While fighting all this I manage to loose my favourite flash light into the bilge. It is down below the fuel tank, completely inreachable.
Right now (I continued writing on Friday) we are in a race, trying to make it into Kralendijk before dark. We will need to average 6 knots to make that, sounds unlikely to happen. Luckily the entrance to Kralendijk is really easy, picking up a mooring ball in the dark should be possible as well.