Bernard Logan BEESMEJ – USA 34

I have, now, discovered what the term “Shake-Down Cruise”, actually, means.

Having had a new computer attached to our port engine, it was decided, Friday, to take the yacht out for the weekend. We departed from Twin Dolphin Marina at 4 pm and anchored in a pleasant part of the river by 6. A tranquil night ensued and we slept well.

Saturday, we weighed anchor, in 15kn easterly winds and were propelled out of the River Manatee into the Gulf of Mexico. The spinnaker, boasting “Miss Piggy,” was deployed and we made good speed. The plan was to go about 10 miles and, then, beat back against the wind.

We got about three miles out, when there was an explosion above our heads. It took but a few moments to realise that the rope , which controlled the angle of the main sail to the wind, had parted company from the boom. .

The spinnaker was furled and we turned, under engine power and took down the main sail. There was nothing for it, but to return to the Manatee River, under power, where we would anchor.

We had travelled no more than 4 miles, when there was another, louder, explosion above our heads! Our new dinghy, with 15hp engine attached, had collapsed into the sea! A shackle, holding the dinghy in the davits, had snapped. In dropping, so suddenly, a supporting rope, attached to a ring on the side of the dinghy, tore the ring out! I stopped the yacht, as quickly as possible, as we had been motoring at 5kn; and anchored. It was, then, possible to sort out the confusion. The dinghy was, then, towed to a safe anchorage.

Having anchored, I examined the boom, to discover that the aft end, which housed the fixation point for the departed rope, had been sheared straight through the metal end by the rope attachment; I presume metal fatigue…….in a new boom?! .

I, fortunately, had a spare shackle in a box; this I attached to the gantry and reconnected the lifting gear for the dinghy.

So, tomorrow, I need to get hold of US Spars, to have the boom repaired; and the dinghy supplier, to have the rend repaired.

What bothers me is the knowledge that, should either problem have occurred whilst we were crossing the Atlantic between the Bahamas and the British Virgin Islands, we may have had serious difficulties. As it was, we were close to the marina, where repairs could be undertaken, under safe conditions.

Sobering thoughts! 

Posted from USA: