And on the Third Day..

The am has been blusterie. Wind is a blowin. We fired up the generator to charge the refrigeration and provide our daily allotment of energy and a few minutes later the Hi Temp light came on.  Little things simply just keep cropping up.

I went to investigate and found our makeshift antifreze serge  bottle had come loose and fallen. Luckily the majority of coolant was still in the bottle. I refilled the heat exchanger and all was hunky dory again.  Ok, just for a bit.
It wasn’t long after the generator incident that one of the control lines on the Sailomat chafed through where it connected to the wind vane. So again I hung over the stern, untied the knot, and then shortened the line and retied it back, hook up the control lines and we’re off on autopilot again.

We’re flying. The wind is about 30 kts and we still have the Yankee out.  I calculate that we’ll arrive at about midnight at this speed so we choose to slow down. I don’t like landfalls in the dark.  A boat was recently lost on a reef in Venezula trying to make a landfall on a reefed island in the dark!  Fortunately Cartagena isn’t a dark island surrounded by reefs.

We get the Yankee rolled in to about 20 square meters and we’re still flying at 5.5 kts. Better but not slow enough. I’m hoping that the winds will abate a bit as we reach the corner of Colombia.

The day wears on.  While reefing the sail in those winds it was flogging about wildly. I’ve since come to the conclusion that if we need to reef the sail in heavy wx it would be best to ease one sheet and pull in the other bringing the clew of the sail midship thereby collapsing the sail. Then we can roll it up easier.

I talk to KaijSong and he tell me he would rather enter Cartagena even in the night then heave too.  He said there is nothing to bother, the lights of the city point to  anything you can run into so after discussing it for a bit and still trying to slow down we decide to go in. Our charts are fully up todate, be just got them from Bellingham Charts, all systems are working on the boat and if anything seems amiss we’ll then wait.

About 11 pm that evening when I was off watch; seems to always happen that way, W/ woke me to say she had thought the sail for the windvane had disappeared. This plastic piece is what feels the wind to turn the oar (that we had lost on an earlier trip) and the oar moves in the water like your hand hanging out a window in the car turned to the wind. The force of the water over the oar then pulls on the wheel and steers the boat. Without this sail the wind vane doesn’t know where to go and we just keep heading as somewhere straight ahead but not consistent and not related to the wind.  She’s right. I had asked our Sail-o-mat guy for a the bolt that is to connect the sail but although he sent some bolts he didn’t sent this one, so since we’d had it on for 5k miles already and never a hint of it leaving I never really worried about it. Fortunately, Mike on Infini had lost his when he was first getting his wind vane functioning, so he had bought a piece of the correct plastic material and I had made a spare too. Easy fix, grab the spare, put it on and connect it all back up.  This time however I marked with a permanent marker where it sat so we could flash a light on it and see if the sail was wiggling out of it’s position. It had moved slightly so on my next watch I took some of the magic blue tape I love and taped it on. Short of a hurricane it would now stay.

About 2 am we arrive at the outer marker and we start up the Iron Genny (engine) and  pull in the sail. We slowly go in the Boca Grande’ cut which is listed as a small boat entrance (the ships channel although deep was suggested to avoid at night as boats have been robbed there). There appears to be an under water wall that the chart says o.2 m – 2 m.  We find the deepest spot on the chart and traverse the wall. I don’t see any markers near by (none  lit anyway) and our new chart shows none. The depth guage reads 7′ for a few seconds then drops back down to 20′. I was too tired to really be concerned with it because I didn’t see anything on the chart. W/ was concerned for a few seconds then she too relaxed when we got into deeper water.

We were lucky. A few days later a catamaran that was leaving hit the wall with their daggerboards down. People were reporting that the bouys had moved. I now have a position for the center of the channel. Funny that on the RayMarine chart chips the bouys show but not on my electronic chart nor the new paper charts!   As we get farther and farther from the beaten path I’m sure that will be a more common occurance, charts wrong, bouys wrong and entering in the dark will be a true NO-NO!

But; we did make it in and slowly navigated to the anchorage. While I was looking to anchor off Club de Pesca (we really, really want to stay at that marina), we ended up anchoring in deep water 20′ off of Club de Nautico ( a marina undergoing a major – slow refurbishment).  Ironically, the spot we picked in the middle of the night ended up being one of my better anchoring choices we’ve made in deep water. Tomorrow; actually today, after a welcome sleep we’ll take care of the formalities.

Go Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long

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