Spent the day wandering around, apparently today was to cruise ship day. Very very busy in the morning with lots of tourists everywhere. After wandering down the main shopping street filled with Gold, Diamond, and Platinum outlets, I found myself in the local market filled with Street vendors and local goods made by people in the islands, much more my to my liking. I made my way down to the waterfront where I grabbed an exceptional meal at Hook Line & Sinker. Shelby flight made it in around 3pm, and a friend of a friend that she met through Chattanooga circles packed both of us in his Jeep and drove us around the island for some exceptional views. He then took us to French Town, where we visited a brewery and grabbed a bite and some great belgian ales at the Pie Hole.
Made it to the airport with plenty of time to spare for my 6am flight AA checked my carry on bag all the way for free. One stop in Miami, then I’ll be in the Virgins!
The flight crew on my American Airlines flight from Austin was great this morning, here’s three of the announcements they made:
”Welcome to Miami, we have delivered you 30 minutes early, please go home and tell your friends!”
”Anything left on board will be divided up between the flight crew, this does not include spouses or children.”
and “Last one off has to clean the plane!”
AA upgraded me from an Economy seat to Main Cabin Extra for the MIA>STT flight. Much more room and more comfortable seats!
Safe and sound in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, USVI. Made it to the Bunker Hill Hotel and promptly caught a nap. Woke up around 5:45 and wandered around town for a bit. Dinner was at the Green House, apparently happy hour is 2 for 1 drinks, and Tuesdays are Lobster Mania! Wonderful meal then back to catch up on my beauty sleep.
Searching for return airfare, I found that I could save $350 if I picked up a flight (on Frontier – eek!) from Charleston, so Roger and Kim dropped me off in downtown Charleston on their way back to Savannah. I grabbed an afternoon flight so I had the day to wander around and explore the historical area and see the sights. Lots of wonderful art, buildings, old cemeteries and history to wander around. This is one of the buildings that I strolled by.
Alchemy is now in the boatyard, on closer inspection of the rudder, it is clear to us how lucky we were that Alchemy returned us safely to port. This was a close call.
The next steps are to remove and replace the rudder, we don’t think that repair is possible. A vehicle has been rented and transportation plans are being made for all of us to depart and return to our respective homes.
Thanks for the short but educational experience, I feel that I am a better sailor now having taken this journey.
I jumped in the water (Their story is that I jumped, I’m claiming I was thrown in!!!) to take a look at the rudder and see if I could see any problems. Right off the bat I saw this and surfaced to grab the camera. Captain Noble was calm and collected though his face demonstrated that he understood the severity of the situation. I snapped this photo and showed it to Roger. He promptly started getting the wheels in motion, contacting his insurance company, a boatyard, and a towing service.
What you are looking at here is the top of the rudder, that dark hole is the INSIDE of the rudder post that had shredded at sea the day before.
This trip is over, Alchemy will be on the hard for an undetermined amount of time while assessments and repairs are made.
After examining the options, Captain Noble decided that the best course of action was to head to shore. We promptly found our way, under our own power and steerage, to the Portside Marina in Morehead City, NC. Once there we secured the vessel, showered, then found a bite to eat at the Sanitary Fish Market and returned to Alchemy for some badly needed sleep.
Winds picked up to steady 20-25kts. We were flying along at ~7kts when the autopilot and control of the rudder went berserk. After looking at it for an hour, we decided to limp into Moorehead City NC to work on this and other repairs safely in harbor.
We were finally able to cook and eat our first meal at sea. The seas calmed down a bit and all three of us were feeling well enough to wolf down some lasagna. Watch was uneventful, not much wind so we were motoring through the night. When I was ready to go off watch we discovered some water ingress through the propeller shaft. Roger repacked the shaft and stopped the ingress. After that we discovered that the bilge pump was not working properly. We manually pumped the water out of the bilge and laid down to catch some badly needed rest.
A pod of dolphins came to visit and swim with us for about 15 minutes.
It made for a wonderful break in the day!
Things have calmed down a bunch. The wind has dropped to under 10kts, so we furled the jib and cranked up the diesel. We passed Charleston and the associated commercial traffic around 04:00. The rest of the crew was finally able to get some decent sleep, I’ll get mine after my watch. So far we have kept a course of 66° around 15-100 miles offshore.