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Sailng on Windwanderer.
30th Mar 2015
30th march 2015

30th March 2015

This is my facebook status I think it says it all.

Well that was a trip from hell, and it's not over yet. We lost the engine, the generator is over heating, the AIS is not working which means we could not see all the mental amount of ships until they were almost on top of us.
We contacted the emergency guys here they decided we were not enough of an emergency to tow us, so we had to come into a bay, gusting 35knts three and a half meter seas, on a Lee shore, which means the wind is blowing you towards shore, no engine, heading straight for a cliff, sails flapping everywhere and drop the anchor, I tell you my knees where knocking. Oh and to add to the mix I was terribly seasick.
Now it's morning and we are hoping they will tow us into Knysna where we can get repairs done.
Are we having fun yet?

What a horrible horrible trip.
It started out fine although we did not have much wind.
Even though the AIS system was not working we were pretty much ok that we could handle all the ships around, I hate that it's not working and it's looking like we may have to buy a whole new system which is going to set us back a fair amount of moola.

Well having it not working is fine in theory  but when you have a mental amount of ships all around day and night and then get storm clouds on the radar, you just can't see the ships on the radar at all.
We had a few near misses and a few shocks when you look up and have them heading straight for you, which would not be too bad if you had a engine that worked and you could get out of their way.

That bring us to the engine halfway through the first day we noticed a very strong diesel smell, then the engine died.
The Captain spent almost the whole trip down in the bilge, trying to sort out what was happening, eventually he found what he thought was the leak, it was a hole in a copper pipe.
As we have no welder on board we made do with a temporary mend of gasket and putty material, we had to wait twelve hours for it to set and see if that would work.

Meanwhile he was called back to the bilge as the generator decided to overheat and stop working.
Now things were getting serious, without the generator and no engine we were running out of power quick.
The solar panels work great most of the time, but when your on a voyage and running the radar, auto pilot and at night all the nav lights the power gets chewed up real quick.

No mater how much he changed, checked and fiddled with, he could not get the generator back up and running, so that has died.

Then we check the engine again start it up and fuel is pouring out everywhere, we actually checked our fuel and we had lost most of it overboard.
So that mend did not work, the leak was actually coming from the lift pump on the engine.
So out comes the manual and it says you can actually tighten this up, so with fingers crossed that this would work The Captain goes down to tighten it up, he manages to get it quite tight gives it one more turn and snap, it breaks off in his hand, great.

By this time we are getting close to land it was well into the last day, we had decided to go into Plettenberg Bay, as there was no way we could get into Knysna with no engine.

The weather had taken a turn for the worst and it was gusting 35knts and we had a swell of around three and a half meters, not nice at all. I was extremely seasick and not travelling well.

The next problem was that it would be dark before we got there, we tried many times to call up for help from the NSRI rescue, to see if they could come and tow us safely in.
Eventually we got phone coverage and we talked to them they said they would have a boat in the bay to help assist if needed. So with that in mind we started to head in.

The conditions out here were really starting to get bad, we rang them again and asked if they could come and get us and tow us in, well no they can't, as they had a change of mind and decided we were not really an emergency, and also there would be no boat waiting in the bay to help.

Man this did not go down well, but we did keep in constant contact with them and they basically talked us in on the radio.

Now you have to realise its pitch black we are coming into a bay that has mountains all round, sheer cliff faces and the wind dies.
Oh man that was worse we are now just drifting no help from the sails at all. We were keeping a close watch on the chart plotter and hoping like hell we would miss all the rocks scattered here and there.
We eventually get to the point where we need to turn and anchor and the wind picks up blowing 20knts we started going at 5 knts at an alarming rate and heading straight for a cliff.

We dropped the sails pointed her into the wind and The Captain made a mental dash to get the anchor down, I swear to god I was holding my breath the whole time I was so scared standing here watching the cliff getting closer and closer, my hands where shaking my knees were knocking all the time knowing that we had no hope in hell if the anchor did not take.

But it did, The Captain came back looking as pale as I'm sure I was, we just sat and breathed I cried a bit and really could of used a stiff drink, only we were not game too, in case we started dragging.

We both decided to sleep in the cockpit just in case, half way through the night I was feeling really cold and went down to get the doona off our bed, I took one look at our bed and climbed in, normally in such a rolly anchorage and having such a fright I would never sleep here but this time I was just way beyond thinking, and I'm sure I just passed out.

Well we survived the night we are still in the same place no dragging the mountains look worse in the daytime, but we are safe.

The original plan was to get the rescue mob to come gets us and tow us into Knysna, as where we were there was no wind so we could not sail out.
Eventually after a million phone calls we get a guy out to do a temporary fix on the engine and yay we have a working engine again.

It's too late to head out today as we have to get in through the heads of Knysna on high tide so we will leave in the morning and hope all goes well.

Well tomorrow is another day.

Next: Friday 29th May 2015
Previous: Tuesday 24th March 2015

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