Our Boat

Caloosa Spirit

Catalina 42 mkII

Log #10 2003—A Very Good Year?

The holidays are over, the decorations are stored, Mom has returned to Indy, and it’s time to get on with preparing for cruising.

Mom and me with matching hats

Christmas was a rush job, but joyful nonetheless. We all managed to come up with some surprise gifts that made for a fun holiday. And we rang in the New Year with popcorn and games at anchor. In between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, however, we got our first taste of cruising without the benefit of the charter company technicians. While motoring to an anchorage the day after Christmas we heard some strange noises coming from somewhere below, then saw smoke rising from the engine compartment. VERY SCARY!! At least we had the presence of mind to shut down the engine and grab a fire extinguisher before opening the compartment. The smoke billowed out, but we saw no flames. Our next problem was that we had to raise our sails to avoid the lee shore that was closing fast. Fortunately, the wind was helpful to our situation. Jim assessed the problem to be a faulty alternator belt, but we weren’t sure about how we would anchor without the engine running. Granted, we’ve done that many times in the past in our smaller boat, but that experience doesn’t translate to the conditions here. So we ran the engine conservatively and got anchored securely. Upon further examination we determined that the problem was in our engine-drive refrigeration. The upside was that we could run the engine with no problem. The downside was we had no refrigeration (again). The long and short of the story was that the compressor was blown and needed replacing. The next question was where and how we would get it fixed. Not wanting to interfere with Mom’s visit any more than we already had, we decided to make do with ice until after she went home. We managed to show Mom some of the sights of St. Thomas (which she thoroughly enjoyed), and she was terrific about the dinghy rides. What a trooper! She told us she now understands why we wanted to go cruising, and that she enjoys the lifestyle, too! We’re looking forward to her next visit.

Mom riding in the dinghy

Today, after 2 weeks of hauling ice, we got the compressor replaced and the refrigeration working again. We investigated several options on who to have do the work, but settled on a guy here in St. Thomas who was referred to us by the refrigeration manufacturer, SeaFrost. Boy, are we glad we found Dave! He did a thorough job of assessing the situation, and found the leak that no one at Sunsail was able to find. The upside is that we’re pretty confident we won’t have any more problems with it. The downside is that now we have to go back to Sunsail and propose that they cover half of the bill, because the offending leak probably caused the compressor to fail.

Well, from what we hear, this is part of cruising. Something is always breaking on a boat. (Incidentally, while Dave was working on the refrigeration Jim was fixing the drawer assembly under our bed. It had started to fall apart and the drawers wouldn’t close.) So we can’t help wondering—WHAT’S NEXT??

We have refrigeration! Okay, so the ice cream is more like just cream, but that should only be temporary. We went to the grocery store to stock up on refrigerated and frozen foods, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed. We’d like to have a full refrigerator for Lauri’s vacation next week. Not having seen her for 4 months, we’re really eager to see her and show her a good time. Mike called tonight from California. He and Steph made the move last week, and they seem very happy to be where it’s warm. (Imagine that!) They’ll have a lot of work to do at their apartment when the truck gets there this week.

We’re back in the BVI. We have to go back to the base to pick up our mainsail cradle cover—the new replacement for the one that was in the water for 3 days. Even though we wouldn’t have come back otherwise, it’s nice to be in a quiet anchorage that isn’t rolly.

We had a pleasant sail back to the base. Actually, Jim thought it was more pleasant than I did, because I don’t particularly like heeling, and it was a beat all the way. It was a good thing the wind was steady, since we had a leak in the engine coolant system and couldn’t motor. (That was the answer to “what next?”.) Fortunately, it was an easy fix after we got here, since Jim is a really good fix-it-man.

We’re getting our new cradle cover put on, but we’ll have to come back yet again for 2 more items—the outboard genoa track (that was damaged 4 years ago) and service to the engine injectors. We don’t want to stay now to have those things done because we suspect that Island Time would keep us from meeting Lauri in St. Thomas on Saturday. Past experience has made us quick studies.

Christmas sunset

Smooth sailing until next time,
Alice & Jim Rutherford

Posted Wednesday January 15, 2003

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