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Voyage of Traveler / Blog » Traveler Postcard–”No more bad luck!”

Voyage of Traveler / Blog

March 18, 2010

Traveler Postcard–”No more bad luck!”

Filed under: Year 3: July09 - July10 Greece to Newport Beach, CA, Caribbean — mrlawlerjr @ 8:22 am

“I’ve had enough bad luck.  No more bad luck!”  I was just listening to Eric Clapton crying the blues on my iPod, and I can really relate.

I was reading in one of the two dozen sailing magazines I keep on Traveler about another full time cruiser spending so much time fixing things on his boat.  He said, half jokingly, “Every part, every system, everything on a boat is either (a) broken, (b) just about to break, or (c) will break eventually.”  I’m beginning to think he speaks the truth.

So far this voyage, the list of mechanical, electrical, rigging, plumbing, and other things that have broken or somehow managed to go wrong is long, and never ending.

The current “To Do List” when I arrive in Cartegena includes (and I’m only half way there):

1.  The radar screen freezes.  Good thing the visibility is good at night and I haven’t really needed it.  We’ve seen only six ships in two days at sea.  I’ll have a Raymarine technician check it out, if and when I can find one.  With the past as a guide, it will probably be a part that will have to be ordered, will take a week to get here and will cost about a grand (also known as one boat buck.)

2.  The cotter pin (probably only a $1 part) on the starboard side jib car failed.  No idea how. Without it, the boat cannot be sailed, at least the jib cannot be used on a port tack.  I have two dozen spare pins, all the wrong size.  Maybe I can jury-rig something.

3.  The connector for the blue wire on the alternator broke off.  Again, no idea how, but at least I’ve become enough of an amateur marine electrician to diagnose the problem myself.  This means (a) the tachometer won’t work (no big deal), and (b) the alternator can’t charge the batteries (hum, this is a big problem). In addition to the engine-powered alternator to charge the batteries, I have solar panels (which work well, but not nearly enough to provide all my power needs), a wind generator (which works well when the wind is over 15 knots, and it has been under 12 this passage), and a gas-powered Honda portable generator.  The generator works great, but it’s noisy and I have to keep refilling its small gas tank–a bit of a challenge in rolling seas.  And it seems odd to be motoring in light air and have to run the generator at the same time to charge the batteries.  This loose wire thing can be fixed, but by a qualified marine electrician in Cartegena.

4.  And, more importantly to Brian and Kellie, the stereo has a power short.  It keeps going dead then restarting.  Very annoying when you are trying to listen to the Flaming Lips, for example.

But my worse luck this passage happened off the boat.  Yansen missed his flight back to Indonesia.  It wasn’t his fault.  He arrived at the Kingston Airport, ticket and passport in hand, several hours before the departure time.  It was the ticket I bought for him on line with Expedia.  I typed in “Kingston” as the departure airport, meaning Kingston, Jamaica.  But the box just said Kingston (not Jamaica).  Somehow, the ticket ended up departing from Kingston, Canada!  (No where on the ticket did it say “Kingston, Canada” as the departure city, just “Kingston” plus the three-letter code, which we know now is the code for Kingston, Canada.  The first leg of Yansen’s flight was form Kingston to Toronto, and Air Canada flies to Toronto from both Kingston, Jamaica and Kingston, Canada.  Not until Yansen arrived at the Kingston, Jamaica airport, after a two-hour bus ride and after we had departed for Cartegena, did he discover the mix up.  The $1,200 ticket was non-refundable.  I learned of the problem via an email from the manager of the marina where we stayed–Yansen returned there to try to sort things out.  After a few sat phone calls and several more emails and reviewing my options (which weren’t many), I had to buy a new ticket for Yansen, for another $1,200.  Ouch!

As the country Western song goes, “If I didn’t have bad luck, I’d have no luck at all.”  Time to change that. Wish me luck.

Living the Dream,

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