Hi-Ho! Hi-Ho! Back to Sint Marten We Go!
We Pause in the Crossing of the Atlantic

Welcomed Back in Sint Maarten

I loved sailing my O'Day 17, Selene, and could easily spend three to five hours out on Quohog Bay in Harpswell, Maine.
Hand-steering La Luna on the "high seas" is not as much fun. Once we turned around, and after EW got some much needed rest, we instituted a 3 hour watch system. There went extra time for cleaning, cooking, writing, or playing guitar. We ate simple meals, steered, and slept. For over 24 hours we battled a weather helm until EW finally decided to shorten the main. After that I didn't need to use both hands and a foot to get her back on course.

We were tired and once again relieved to be able to state, "At least it happened here, and not 800 miles east of Bermuda." (Or some such random number that would require us to simply keep going until we made it to the Azores. Heading back to Sint Maarten was not a hardship when one considered the alternatives. (I have considered them, however, and EW has agreed that if we must hand steer for thousands of miles we will indeed heave-to for a few hours every other day in order to deal with boat, personal, and food issues. We also made a few errors -- documented for another post or article -- nothing that endangered the boat or ourselves.

I erred in navigation and truly believed that Simpson Bay was much closer to Sombero Island. We should have remained sailing our course farther south than we did. Unfortunately, we started the engine in order to go into the wind toward our anchorage, like a horse bolting for the barn. The result? Early on Sunday morning, when I had originally projected we would arrive at anchor, we were still 20 miles away and the engine died. Once again, EW had kind of predicted it when he thought, "I bet it's time to change the fuel filter." Yep. We had wind, coming directly from where we wanted to be, but it was wind, so we set the jib and EW went below to work on the engine. Back in Maine, after a missed rag in the otherwise professionally cleaned fuel tanks, we had a summer of cleaning the filter and bleeding the engine, so we have the process down. I sail the boat, EW works on the engine and when he's ready, I "try to start it" in order to get the air out of the lines.

For over six hours I had a marvelous sail, tacking all the way to Saba, while EW changed two fuel filters and discovered the starter solenoid was toast. Of course, being EW he had a spare, but was loath to put it on under way, heeled over, in three to five foot seas. We were going to be sailing in to Simpson Bay and anchor under sail. Oh joy.

We tacked back, missed the bay by 5 degrees, tacked out for 25 minutes and made our mark. I was confident that EW knew what we were doing, and that the new Rockna anchor would hold, I still worried about hitting other boats. We made it. It was a hectic few minutes but we anchored at 4:00 PM on Sunday. We stowed some things, raised the anchor light, had wine and cheese and crackers for dinner, and I was asleep by 7:30. After more than ten hours of sleep, we awoke early enough to announce our arrival on the cruisers' net, surprising most folks, and relieving those who had followed the blog and knew we were heading back to Sint Maarten.

On Monday, EW worked on the boat, installing the solenoid, and we engaged Brad from S/V Quartette to help with other mechanical issues, including the auto pilot. I ran around getting laundry done, and shopped for things we had lacked underway. My favorite moment of the day:

EW and I had gone in to Budget Marine, and had just tied Lunah Landah to their dock when we met a couple of cruisers. We chatted very briefly, before she asked me the name of our boat. Once I answered "La Luna", she brightened and turned toward my sweetie and said, "YOU are EW!". Judy and her husband, Jan, are from Canada and have been sailing in the Caribbean for 8 years. I'm not sure how we've missed meeting them, but Judy has been a regular reader of this blog,and recognized EW from the photo I had taken when he was running the Morning Star. Before they got to Sint Maarten, Judy had been disappointed that she wouldn't have a chance to meet us. While she certainly didn't wish us ill, once she read the prior post about our return, she said to Jan, "Maybe we will meet Barb and EW, yet."

Yep. I love this cruising life.

Comments

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Diana

SO glad to hear that you are safely back in Sint Maartin. We've been waiting to hear that all is well. Also, very impressed that you are meeting blog readers that you've not met previously. Very cool! How fortunate we are to live this wonderful lifestyle!

Chuck Osgood

Sounds like you guys made a wise decision. Think of it as a shake down cruise! Hope the autopilot problem can be easily solved.

Best regards,

Chuck
S/V Bear (formerly)
M/V Bear

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