April 29, 2010.
We’ve got our weather window. There was a bit of a debate as to whether we should go straight from Manjack to Beaufort, NC or if we should head west towards the states and jump into the Gulf Stream in an effort to get the push.
The advantage of straight across is that its “only” 495 miles. The disadvantage is that at one point we’d be over 200 miles from landfall in any direction. If the weather window prematurely slammed shut or if we had a major equipment failure it could be a pretty bad situation.
The route we chose was, west across the top of the Abacos, northwest into the stream and then to ride it right up into Beaufort, NC. The advantage was that we’d generally be within 100 miles of shore in case of emergency. We’d also be getting about a 2 knot push from the Gulf Stream for quite a bit of the trip. The big disadvantage was that the trip ends up being just over 600 miles which is another full day.
If you’ve been reading for a while then you know that my bilge pump hates me. Almost every time we’ve done an offshore overnighter there’s been an issue of one type or another with the bilge pump. After last time I installed a new pump, an electronic activation switch and an audible alarm that scares the shit outta you every time the pump cycles. So imagine my surprise when 10 minutes before we were set to pull the hook I found water all over the engine compartment. The plastic hose barb that screws into the side of pump had sheared, spraying salt water over everything in the engine room when the pump cycled. Shit.
I got out my box of plumbing spares and set about making the repair. Satisfied that everything was as it should be we got underway. After about 100 miles the bilge alarm went off. Shit, what now. I pumped the bilge dry only to have the alarm pierce the silence a short while later. Shit, shit, shit.
I checked every through hull fitting and both stuffing boxes before I found the source of the water. A compression fitting under the forward sink had failed and our fresh water tank was being pumped into the bilge. Shit. Fortunately I had the spares for that as well and made the repair. How does it know?