DATE: November 21, 2006
Most of the boats are now safely docked at Village Cay marina in Road Town, Tortola. I sailed Parallax single handed over to Road Town Sunday morning and joined the fleet after taking on fuel and provisions in St Thomas. While we were in St. Thomas Bill left the boat to fly in to San Juan where he was to meet his wife, Hildegard. Bill is over 70 years old, but you couldn't tell it. I don't believe we would have left with the rest of the group had Bill not pitched in to make the boat ready. He was certainly a great crew to have aboard what turned out to be a slow and tiring passage.
The stay in Village Cay was a time to rest, fix broken things and socialize with the rest of the group particularly, during the Mount Gay sponsored Sundowners. We had somehow managed to tear the zipper on the Mack Pack which is an on-the-boom mainsail storage device. The Mac still worked fine to gather the mainsail but needed a couple of ties now to close the bag to the damaging sunlight. The support from Mac was excellent they actually called me in Tortolla with some workarounds until I could get the zipper fixed. We also discovered the trampolines on Parallax needed restiching so off they went to a local canvas guy “Sam”.
By far the biggest problem was a “blown” alternator, which had shorted to ground sucking down battery power anytime it was in the ships power circuit, which was anytime the battery switch, was on. It wasn't quite a direct short so it didn't blow the 200 amp fuse but the continuous 50 amp draw played havoc on everything and in hindsight was the reason we just couldn't keep the batteries up on the way over. The spare alternator is now cobbled into the system and Sam says the trampoline is finished. The unofficial fleet doctor and skipper of Karina, Miles runs a yacht management service to help those without the time or skills to troubleshoot and fix onboard systems. For those of us who installed and now maintain their shipboard systems he was an invaluable source as to where parts and pieces could be purchased, even allowing us to use his business discount at the various Tortola suppliers.
We have the final 1500 dinner at the Village Cay restaurant tomorrow and then a get together at the Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor, the next day. After that the group splits for their various destinations. The Rally has proved to be many things to many sailors, for some it offered support for their inaugural offshore passage and to others a way to meet interesting and often very experienced sailors. But the one-man crew of Parallax is ready to break out of the group and see what's up in the islands.