8 Jan 2011

[Captains Blog] Phare Bleu Bay

This last week has been an interesting one in terms of handling the boat in rough weather. The wind has regularly been gusting at over 25 knots which is bad enough on its own, but worse when I have to negotiate narrow passages between reefs that would rip the heart out of the boat if we touched, and shoehorn Pandora into tight, seemingly impossible to access spots in very small marinas and boatyards.

Having said that, the invention of the bowthruster has been something of a saviour to hard pressed helmsmen who are required to perform 'handbrake turns' to avoid running aground in shallowing waters that have less than 20 centimeters below the keel whilst turning around a 5 feet wide jetty to park alongside it on the other side. We've had to manage it on a few occasions in the past 3 days as we've had aborted journeys around the coast to go to the boatyard where they are trying to repair the genny ready to install back onto Pandora. The upside of some skilled handling of these manoeuvres is that we have earned the respect of Kevin, the dockmaster at the marina we are staying at who clearly doesn't suffer fools and he is now only too pleased to offer help and information wherever he can. Very useful indeed!

We are still without said genny - the parts have finally arrived from Italy (only 4 weeks in transit) only to find that there was an oil leak as well and in the process of trying to repair this, the engineer broke a cylinder gasket. Guess what? We don't have a spare here, and a new part has to be sent from the UK. Another 3-4 weeks before we get another chance to fix the problem perhaps? In the meantime, we take the stoical view and continue on managing as best we can with the limited facilities available to us.