6 Jan - We had a bad start on leaving with the genoa sheets getting stuck on the fuel cans and under a kayak – neither of which has ever happened before! Anyway we sailed off with sails flying. By evening the weather was way up and poor Galen was on his first ever sail on his first ever watch with 42 plus winds and 4 metre breaking swells! We reefed everything and sat it out for 4 days! Quite uncomfortable but safe enough. After that we sailed downwind very well on good trade winds with our new gennaker out and the genoa winged out. All very easy to use after our old sail – a two man job to set up! One drama – of course – during the bad weather the bilge pump on the starboard side kept coming on with the small amount of water slopping wildly about in the bilge so Pete turned it of temporarily to stop the motor burning out. Of course at that moment the salt water rinse hose let go and flooded the bilge! We caught that OK but it had flooded the two water maker pumps! So we were on water rations for a day and a half till Pete tried the water maker again and found that the main pump had survived! He and Galen spent the better part of the day swapping the air con pump over and we had a water maker again! Whew! We have all been going to knot school and doing competitive knotting – we all know about 15 knots now….
We caught a couple of small mahi mahi and had sashimi and steaks for dinner one night. E sailed most nights with a clear sky and full moon – very beautiful. All we could see of St Helena was a low strip of land and cloud above that eventually revealed itself to be a very rugged coastline with near vertical rocky cliffs straight into the sea. As we approached the township of St Helena we passed Rupert’s Bay the only other landing spot on the island with a fort on the headland. No way was Napoleon getting rescued or escaping from here! The only possible way to get to and from here is by boat up until soon, as there is an airport being built that will open for freight in May 2016 and eventually passengers too.
Dustin and Galen have turned out to be great guys. Tons of fun and very respectful of the boat and all our things. Ready, willing and able, turn up on time for their night watches etc – great altogether…..Both have done their part to save the day! Dustin: spotted cracks in the big stainless steel poles that hold up the top of the boat! – they may have been developing over a while as there was rust evidence but were hidden under the jack lines (see pics). Galen saved the dinghy: We had arrived at the mooring in St H on sunset and picked up two quite difficult buoys that had no lines on them using the dinghy. Then we opened a few drinks and sat up forward congratulating ourselves, and as quite often happens – pride goes before a fall – Galen noticed our dinghy bobbing off towards the rocks! He and Dustin valiantly tried to get the two of them on to a one man kayak! After several capsizes Galen swam for it. He got on board then realised he didn’t know how to start it, so rowed until Dustin caught him up on the kayak. Pete and I sat on the boat and laughed at it all – (once it appeared that all was well).