Hi Amazing Peeps,
We are docked in Ulladulla and it’s calm and quiet…….finally. About yesterday:
The sail through Monday into Tuesday was B..E..A…UTIFUL! The seas were calm, the wind was a headwind but still ok, the sun and the moon were beaming. It was perfect.
At 11am Steve and I were arguing about when shift change was. I was on from 4 – 8am but Steve wasn’t fully awake so I continued through to 9am. We had all 3 sails out and he was getting about 5.5 knots. I knew I could get more so I was looking forward to my shift. Steve says it was at 1pm, I said 12 because it wasn’t my fault that he wasnt fully awake.
The SW’s were meant hit about 12pm. We were almost halfway between Ulladulla and Jervis Bay and we were looking forward to finally running. The winds were just on time what I didn’t expect was the choppy swell.
We had a 35 knot gust hit us right on the beam and caught all the sails. Before we could blink Sumbawa was on a 45° lean powering now at 9 knots. It only lasted a few seconds but it caught us a little off guard.
Everyone in the cockpit was tethered but inside things came crashing including poor Zeinobiyah who was asleep on the couch and I had forgotten to put up the side. She ended up flying off and onto the floor. Needless to say she was not asleep anymore.
We had the motor running as it was a headwind but were looking forward to finally having some quiet. This is where the ‘fun’ began.
We had on oil sponge in our engine bay for emergencies. We knew if it got yucky, we had a problem. This sponge has a rope handle and it had been sitting under the gearbox for a while. During our 45° lean, it decided it wanted to unite with the prop shaft and the handle got caught on the coupling from the gearbox to the prop shaft. The Sponge was then flung round and round.
During this coupling / sponge dance, the sponge collected our wiring for our emergency bilge pump and ripped in clean off. That too wound itself around the coupling. At this point we were all topside, Steve having turned into the wind and the mainsail dropped. The 2m seas were choppy, about 5 seconds apart with white caps. At this point Blade vomited, Tash, Kita & Alec were feeling seedy. We continued onto Jervis.
Our normal bilge pump anti-siphon wasn’t working – I don’t know how . This meant that water was being siphoned from outside to inside the engine bay. Our engine bay bilage pump was doing fine until it got completely blocked with the fluff, then it was just pumping air. So now the engine bay was filling with water, which drained into the bilage and we were still topside or trying to manage children.
Finally the engine started to smell. I raced down stairs to open the engine bay door and was immediately being sprayed with water from the prop shaft. I tried to turn on the emergency bilge pump only to find that it doesn’t exist anymore. We then started the manual pumps.
We made the decision at this point to turn around and head towards Ulladulla. Just as we got a tail wind, we turned and headed back into it as well as heading into the seas. That did not help the kids seasickness. The older ones were not much help downstairs except Ryan who’s stomach was iron clad. Yahsha and Azanyah too thought the rock and roll and the bouncing were clearly fun because they had put their mattresses in front of the table and were doing somersaults off the table onto the cushions and loving it. Zeinobiyah was sick only because she was trying to sleep so Ryan started rocking her. Rocking her on a very rocky rolly boat was a bad idea. So she just wanted Mum. Ryan looked after her though – Mum was busy!
Back to the motor:
We have one manual pump in the cockpit and one in our bathroom where the bilge pipes come through. Nakita was pumping the one upstairs as I pumped the one in our room. This was working well. Steve had stopped the motor as soon as I saw the wiring and I was able to get everything off. So now was just pumping.
The water in the engine bay was full of this sponge foam. It was everywhere but getting the water out was most important, the foam could wait. That in hindsight was a mistake.
As we continued to pump, the manual pump in the cockpit got really hard and then the screws came out. Steve was able to screw it together again and we were back pumping.
Then both manual pumps got almost impossible to pump, they were so hard. That foam stuff had filled the pipes. We were siphoning water inside and no bilge pumps, not really a great scenario. We had spares but Steve was battling wind and waves with kids so I was down stairs. All the other kids were either sleeping or playing with Lego on the boys bed.
So I am down stairs and water was coming in from who knows where at the time and no working pumps. But instead of swapping with Steve I came up with a plan.
We have a hand siphoning pump that we use to pull the oil out of the motor when we do an oil change. I cut all the oil stuff off and chucked the end in the engine bay – not long enough. I knew we had about 4m of hot water hose so I attached that to the pump and the other end out the window and overboard. This was a good idea except the fact that I was pumping uphill and it kept blowing the pipe down below. New tack – so now the end of the pipe went into the sink and I am sitting in the engine bay pumping, pumping and more pumping……………FOR 2 HOURS! TWO BLOODY LONG HOURS!
Steve is managing into a headwind, tick-tacking and going into 2m chop trying not to let the sails flog.
Natasha was a champion! Even though she was seedy she was able to think on the fly. Sometimes she is very girly and puts the sheets the wrong way on the winches even though IT HAS ARROWS! She would then release the whole sheet in 25 knot winds and the sail would flog violently as Steve tried to grab them. It was a bit………sweary here. Even though, when something that needed to be done, she was first to jump up.
Blade was useless! He was physically sick and when asked to do something, he would just argue about why it won’t work and would then just sit there and cry. We do understand he is not an adult and that seasickness is horrid but having him arguing with the captain and first mate is NOT HELPFUL!
Blade also had habit of talking while vomiting, such as “barf – that wasn’t expe….barf….pected. I thought that I…….barf…..was doing ok……barf.” Really, REALLY DISGUSTING!
Nakita just sat outside and said nothing.
Me on the other hand was sitting in the engine bay while the engine was running, pumping water by hand in 2m chop. By the time we pulled in I was ready to hurl. We got the bow and stern line attached then Steve was downstairs connected a spare bilge pump. The water was gone in seconds. Only then did we find that it had been siphoning in. I laid on the couch, ate a tiny bit then went to bed at 6.30pm. I didn’t move until morning and still managed to sleep till 7.
Today we are getting different anti-siphons – better ones! Cleaning out all the crap from the bilge pipes. We also are about to go have a run around – even me.
I still feel a bit strange and even if we were all fixed, wouldn’t be ready to go out there yet. I need a day or so to feel…..sain – no those days are gone, maybe myself is the right word.
Thank you for all the kind messages. We are all doing good just need a rest.
Let’s go run around like mad things
Beccie is a Best Selling Author, a World Travelling Sailor, an Awesome Wife and the Best Mum to the 10 most Amazing Children on the Planet, a Millionaire, a Polyglot and an Oracle