Tornado, heavy rains, damaged sail and engine down in one afternoon. Today, briefly about one, but intensive day on board. We DO love adventures … but these are day when we seek for boring days.
Our entire passage from Surinam to the Grenadines was largely uneventful save for punching through one line of thunderstorms. However, on our way to Grenada we experienced more than we wished for! It started at 3 AM at night when we experienced 40 knots of wind while anchored between reefs. Our neighbors’ (our followers and great people Dave & Camie) anchor unfortunately dragged and they struggled with pulling it up in heavy rain, waves, and wind. We were observing them to make sure they do not need any assistance while keeping fingers cross for our anchor to hold our home! In the morning, the weather seemed more stable, that is why we decided to leave from Carriacou to Grenada.
That day of sailing we experienced a lot more then in the preceding week! First, as soon as we began sailing South we noticed large thunderstorm cell converging from the NE moving SW. We slowed to let it cross our course in front. That meant comfortable sailing on bare rigging NO SAILS at 5-6 knots. Unfortunately we were still converging with the cell and, when we saw a tornado or a waterspout spawned on the SW front of the storm we immediately decided to turn on the engine and turn around to let it pass South of us.
In the process me and Ania noticed a small hole close to the lower edge of our genoa, and growing really fast, so we rolled it up and unrolled the jib once we got on our way South trailing the storm at safe distance. First we were going to stop at Ronde hence we did not even raise the mainsail as this is merely 10 miles. However at Ronde we experienced rolling waves and uninviting cliff shores, so we continued for another 20 miles to the safety of Grenada’s lee shore. Since it was only another 20 miles and our batteries were nearly dead from days without the solar charging we decided to continue motorsailing plus having jib on. Then came to biggest problem. Our engine stopped working and refused to turn on. For us it is a serious and stressful situation. We have one engine aboard! and sunset and an unknown achorage ahead us! It turned out, I forgot to change the fuel filters in Surinam after 4 months of sitting in the jungle and all the happy growth from the fuel tank eventually clogged the filter. I changed both filters, but dirt already was in the fuel line so I had to take everything apart and clean. More than 3 hours later the engine was back on, but in the meantime we sailed under the cover of the lee shore of Grenada and hence only were moving at max. 2-3 knots under the lonely jib. It was high time to restart the engine and make it to the anchorage. We obviously missed the daylight, and as much as we don’t like to approach unfamiliar anchorage at night had to do it in the dark. We got detail instructions from our friends Natka and Adam (another couple of followers) and managed to anchor safely narrowly missing a local reef1 The cherry on the cake was I pinched 2 fingers while trying to get the stubborn anchor out. Then we finally got to relax and sleep in the relative peace of the Grande Anse bay. We have since been mesmerized by the charm of Grenada, but that’s another topic for another post 📷