We decide we can't continue like this until we find out what's wrong and so turn to square the boat with the seas (to keep the rudder from working too hard) and head into Samana, Dominican Republic, 90 miles distant, hoping we get there tomorrow afternoon before the rudder falls off or who knows what might happen or where we might end up. But EQ hangs in there and we make Samana the next day, pull into a resort/marina (the only place for a hundred miles or more), I immediately jump into the water and find (not) that the skeg is completely gone! It had sheared off at the internal welds at the base of the threaded rods (5 of them) that kept the skeg in place. Being completely dumbfounded, it took a few moments for the reality to sink in, I surface saying we are totally screwed, no place to haul-out anywhere near us, no marine services nearby, nothing but a broken boat not fit for sea. Bugger!
With no idea how we were going to sort this one, I laid awake most of the night tossing and turning. At 4:00am I get up with a brain storm, I need to find someone to make me a small plate with 3 holes, a 2" in the middle and two smaller ones on the sides. This will slide up on the bottom of the rudder post sticking out the bottom of the rudder where I'll attach "guy" wires up the side of the boat onto deck with block and tackle as tensioners to secure the bottom of the rudder. After all, that's the job of the skeg. That was the theory anyway.
After drawing a full size drawing which I could point to instead of trying to explain with my very limited Spanish, we luck out and find a taxi driver that speaks decent English and explain what we are looking for. After a long ($135) taxi ride(s) up to the north coast and back and around the village, we finally get the plate made and find some wire and make it back to the boat with just enough daylight left for me to jump back in the water and secure it with the guy wires. There were many boats here sitting around for weeks waiting on parts and said good luck getting anything done around here anytime soon. But we were on our way, fingers crossed, the next morning, not having any idea if this would work. But we had to at least try to make it to the Bahamas where there are reasonable marine services.
And so it was working well enough once out to sea in reasonably light conditions we kept on going, constantly wondering where we might actually end up, looking for options and alternative plan B's along the way. Taught guy wires slicing through the water made for an interesting singing noise and we had to try to stay clear of the floating seaweed and buoys. On many occasions, I had to get into the water to clear the weed and buoys as it was slowing us down, but hey, we were making way, fingers still crossed. We did manage to catch another Maui-Maui though.
|The Singing Weed and Buoy catching Guy Wires|
Once we got to the Bahamas, we tried to stay on the lee side of the banks and cross the banks if possible (touching bottom a few times) we worked our way up through the islands. We said well done, the scheme seemed to be working well enough, no leaking around the rudder post even though the shaft log was coming loose with all the stress it was taking. We decided to keep going to see if we could make it to Florida where we could find better services and a more reasonable price.
And so we did make it to Florida, entering at Fort Pierce. Since all was going well, even though we did a lot of motoring picking calmer days with lighter seas, we decided then to try doing the ICW up the coast to Rhode Island. That was trying as we had to pay close attention all the way, but hey, we were still making way and had flat water, trying to avoid crab traps.
|A new Skeg at Long Last|
So, that's the news from EQ, fit for sea again and the crew working the kicks out of those tightly crossed fingers.
With Equanimity and much Joy...