A Rough Couple of Days on Board

Clarence Town Bahamas

Sometimes the wind is not with us. Sometimes it seems like nothing is with us. The last couple of days have definitely felt like that. Sailing the Bahamas is not easy but we’ve had a rough couple of days on board Sava.

It Starts With The Windlass

Thursday, March 7th: Elizabeth Harbor, Georgetown to Galliot Cay, Long Island, Bahamas

Brian fixed the windlass enough so we could haul anchor and leave Elizabeth Harbor on Thursday. We spent about an hour at the marina filling up our water tanks since we still have not gotten the watermaker working properly. If you hadn’t guessed, this post is going to give you an idea of some of the things that still don’t work on Sava.

We left the marina in the hopes of catching some of the northeasterly wind to help us go east. It was rough. We probably left the marina before 9am and we were on the sea tacking away from our destination for part of the time, and then to our destination the remainder of the time.

map Long Island sailing
Our zigzag route from George Town to the top of Long Island, Bahamas

The sea was wavy and the wind was strong, but as has been the norm lately, not in our favor. As a result, the waves bounce you around. For someone with a queasy stomach, even with Gravol ginger, it’s not fun.

We finally saw land before dark and anchored at sunset. By this time, we were both wearing long sleeved hoodies and pants. The temperature was 23C/73F but with the wind, it felt colder. Plus we’ve been spoiled with weeks of 28 degrees but I digress from my complaints!

One of the wires to the windlass is disconnected somewhere, so Brian just keeps swapping out the working wire for either “UP” or “DOWN” depending if we are dropping or hauling anchor. Either way, I press DOWN. Anchoring was easy but it wasn’t the best anchorage. It was rough! Trying to make dinner or do anything down below was a bit of a challenge. I have a few bruises, especially on my shins from banging into walls when I mis-time the bounces.

Anyway, we just cleaned up from the day sailing, turned on our anchor light, made dinner and went to sleep. Friday was to be an even longer day.

Rough Seas Equal Rough Days On Board

Friday, March 8th: Galliot Cay to Clarence Town, Long Island, Bahamas

Clarence Town Long Island Bahamas
From the top of Long Island to Clarence Town, its capital

Around the top and south. Should be able to use these 20 knot east winds to fly down the coast. We wish. Instead, yesterday we got waves bouncing us around.

no auto pilot

Did I mention our Auto Pilot doesn’t work? This means we have to steer manually all the time. When it’s rough and windy, I am clenching the wheel. The waves still bounce you off course and you have to pull back. Over and over and over. It is tiring. My neck and shoulders are SORE. Brian’s too.

no windlass

Yesterday we both got up at 6, had some coffee and hauled anchor from that bumpy miserably wavy anchorage and left. I hit DOWN to pull the anchor up. It’s confusing but as long as we remember to switch the wire beforehand, it works. We are not going to continue this way. Eventually Brian will run a new wire the entire length of the boat so we can press UP when we want the anchor UP and DOWN when we want to drop it.

So the windlass barely works, the auto pilot doesn’t, and we lost a few more things on our sail down the interminable Long Island on Friday. I read that Long Island used to be called Yuma by the Arawak Indians, then Fernandina by Christopher Columbus in 1492, but got this name from an exhausted sailor who found it took too long to pass it. We can relate. Yesterday was not a fun day on the water.

Every time I went below (which wasn’t often), I got slammed around by the waves and my stomach was miserable. Sava clearly didn’t like it either because she kind of gave up, almost making sacrifices to the sea.

things fall apart

We lost the seat by the steering wheel. The captain’s seat. Brian bumped it while he was steering, I guess it wasn’t snapped in, and it flew off the back of the boat. We tried to get it back, I with the fishing net, but the waves were too bouncy and we couldn’t get close before it sank. RIP captain’s seat. We will miss you when we have to stand all day.

I told Brian it would probably be hilarious to watch the two of us trying to save the captain’s seat. It was windy and rough and me slipping around with the net pointing to where it was in the water and Brian trying to steer us to it with the sails flying everywhere would probably be entertaining mayhem now. It was probably only about 2 minutes before it sank, but we tried.

Then, a couple of the lazy jacks, the rigging that holds the sail cover, fell off.

We think the connections between the rigging and the sail cover were just old and threadbare, and the wind got the most of them yesterday. It wasn’t a huge issue, and Brian has already sewn up what he could, but it made the sail droop a little bit and blocked our view when we had pulled it in. It also discouraged the both of us. We anchored here in Clarence Town at around 3:30PM, cleaned up and had a nap. We were wiped.

A Pretty Anchorage Makes Up For A Lot

Saturday, March 9th: Clarence Town, Long Island Bahamas

Good news. This anchorage is much more pleasant than the last one. Slight rocking from side to side is good for sleep! It’s a beautiful day and we are taking a break. If a break means Brian fixes the lazy jacks while I clean the bathrooms and empty and clean the fridge.

The next few days are going to be more of the same, fighting the wind in our face as we continue our southeastward push. The next goal is Turks & Caicos, followed by the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.

Clarence Town Bahamas
Clarence Town is quite pretty!

At some point, we are going to need to fix our auto pilot, and our windlass, and our watermaker. But not right now. We need a break.

For our break, we are going to see the sights of Clarence Town. We may hit up a bar in town for some day off drinks. Happy Saturday from The Bahamas!

Author: Mel

Living aboard a sailboat, blogging about the places we visit and the adventures we have. Love hiking, cycling, scuba, animals and adventure.

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