Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: North Carolina
Thanked 225 Times in 224 Posts
Rep Power: 7
Re: Learning from mistakes, ours and theirs.
To wrap it up...
Eventually we get really, really exhausted. The night squalls take their toll. The boat does not lie ahull well. It just bobs and spins like a piece of driftwood, with very uncomfortable motion, despite drawing a whopping 8 feet and having lots of ballast. We try various reduced sail configurations, but are not very successful. We decide to go to Puerto Cortes, Honduras instead. It's a big port and we encounter lots of traffic. We are back in the main shipping lanes. But the wind dies again and we will not make port before the night fall, even if engine helps us in the final approach. We resign to keep pushing towards Puerto Barrios, Guatemala rather that trying to enter unfamiliar port at night, without any charts showing the entry into harbor. That night gets very rough with series of strong squalls and torrential tropical rain. It rains buckets, but the water is warm and washes off our stink (the water maker is not working and we have no power anyway, so we have to conserve water). One squall is so violent that boat gets turned around 180 degrees in 15 seconds. There were 4 waves of rain squalls, but none as bad as the first one. In the early morning, just after sunrise, we are still some 30 miles from port, and the easterly wind dies and land breeze picks up, dead on the nose. Captain fires up the engine and we go for broke. The scene is a bit like from Road Warrior movie. We are pumping and filtering diesel one small batch at a time, trying to keep the engine going. Boat reeks of diesel and our clothes are soaked in it as well. Did you know that diesel engine returns about twice as much fuel through the return line than it uses to run? Couple of times we miscalculate fuel use and run out of fuel in our jerry can tanks. Fortunately the captain manages to get the engine going each time. He is a good mechanic. Finally we pull into Puerto Barrios, find the port authority office, and get cleared with immigration, customs, and health, despite it being Sunday afternoon. Local people are friendly and helpful. Captain finds a diesel mechanic who is going to check out our engine and generator on Monday. Next day mechanic confirms that generator pump has a busted impeller, and tells us that the turbocharger is busted on the engine. I inform the captain that I will not be going any further with him. He is not surprised. The other crew member has already taken his stuff off the boat and checked into local hotel. I leave the boat next day, catching a bus to Guatemala City and then a flight to US. I do not regret crewing on that boat and value the experience I gained. Life goes on.
Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.