Try, try, and try once more

3 Dec

Early (3 am) on Sunday, Dec 1st we left Grand Bahama intending to sail south to the Berry Islands. Two miles out, our autopilot (named Steve) went on the fritz. Steve decided that the only heading that existed was 248 degrees, and refused to listen to any other instructions. Frustrating, but not a trip breaker, so we pressed on. At three miles we raised the main and squared our shoulders to hand steer the 65 miles. We know, what a first world problem, to not have our fancy auto pilot steer for us. But suddenly the rudders started acting up. When Andy tried to steer to starboard, the wheel would turn a few degrees and then started resisting. Okay, this was more serious. It’s kind of hard to turn without rudder action. Hmm…related issue…as in Steve messing with us? Did we snag something? We hemmed and hawed and decided to turn back. If you looked at our Spot notification, we did a nice fancy circle.

We spent the rest of Sunday tearing apart the wiring for Steve’s fluxgate compass, and didn’t really find any obvious electrical issue. But when we put it all back together, Steve was back on track. Hope this “fix” holds, as the only other thing it could be is the computer board. Raymarine probably doesn’t even makes these any more. Anyway! Madi dove on the rudders for us and checked that they were all clear, and we verified that the action had freed up. Perhaps our fancy circle cleared something we snagged. Annoying to have issues resolve without knowing what the resolution was!

But, with issues resolved we decided to leave early (3 am again) on Monday, to give us enough time to make the 13ish hour sail and get in before dark. We got up around 2 am and discovered that the low tide had been extremely low and our port hull was stuck in mud. The channel out of here is a shallow channel, and we knew that it wouldn’t be much better at 3. If we left any later than 3, we ran the risk of getting in after dark, and sailing against the clock really sucks.

So, now we set up for try number three. At 6:30 pm we finally broke the “curse” and left Sea Breezes without turning around. The ocean gave us gentle following seas the whole night, with light breezes off the stern. Not the greatest for speedy sailing, but it was relaxing. We got into Great Harbor in the Berry Islands around 9:30 am, right behind all the cruise ships stopping at their private cays for the day. Glad to be here, and glad to be unstuck from Grand Bahama (a very wonderful place…but it was time to move on).


Sunrise near Great Stirrup Cay


The most clear and beautiful blue water beach…and we are the only ones on it

One Response to “Try, try, and try once more”

  1. Miramare December 4, 2013 at 5:11 pm #

    Robin, Andy and girls, So glad you made it safely to Great Harbor! We’ll be following your journey and enjoying your updates. Stay safe and have fun…
    Roberta & Carroll Oates

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