Tag Archives: Sea Ray

Improvise, adapt and overcome! (by Randy)

Vessel Vanguard

Vessel Vanguard

GENERAL MAINTENANCE

We have been utilizing our boat as our floating home for over a year now. In addition to living aboard her, we have travelled approximately 3600 nautical miles since we left Florida. One of the constant and ongoing requirements for an active vessel at sea is a rigorous maintenance program. We have been utilizing the Vessel Vanguard program to track our ongoing maintenance and it has proven very helpful. We have access to an interactive website that follows all of the routine maintenance schedules for the Pilots’ Discretion. It provides us alerts to upcoming maintenance as well as maintaining a parts inventory and equipment utilization records for all of the various systems aboard. We have tried to be very proactive in anticipating the potential for equipment failure and it’s implications for our operational readiness.

Despite our diligent attention to the Pilots’ Discretion maintenance, occasionally we are confronted with an unanticipated requirement for technical support. Usually, it turns out that we need to find a part in an out of the way spot or get a second opinion on some minor equipment malfunction. A couple of days later we are on our way with the offending system back on line.

DINGHY ISSUES

During our passage from St. Kitts to Antigua, we encountered a potentially catastrophic failure with our dinghy. We took the dinghy to shore in Majors Bay, St. Kitts for Patton’s morning walk and I noticed that the fuel gauge moved very quickly from full to nearly empty in the course of 20 minutes (we had just fueled the dinghy). In addition, the smell of gasoline was extremely strong and upon inspection, the bilge had two inches of raw gasoline floating in it. Anyone with any boating experience knows that gasoline in the bilge creates a very hazardous and potentially explosive situation. I checked all of the fuel lines throughout the boat and motor and could find no leaks. We elected to drain the bilge, clean it out as best we could and bring the dinghy aboard, not to be run again until we found some competent help to track down and repair our mysterious fuel leak.

Ryan, Randy & Patton securing the dinghy in Majors Bay, St. Kitts

Ryan, Randy & Patton securing the dinghy in Majors Bay, St. Kitts

We communicated with our cruising friends,  John and Paulette Lee aboard M/V Seamantha (via our Delorme satellite communications system) and they volunteered to do some online research regarding options for us for our arrival in Antigua. Before we had Antigua on the radar,  John had gotten back to us with the recommendation that we contact the folks at Seagull Inflatables (www.seagullinflatables.com) in Falmouth Harbor, Antigua.

 

Seagull Inflatables, Falmouth Harbor, Antigua

Seagull Inflatables, Falmouth Harbor, Antigua

As soon as we had the Pilots’ Discretion safely secured at Nelson’s Dockyard, I reached out to Seagull Inflatables owner, Mr. Dino Bruschi, and explained our issue. Dino told me he would be at our boat within an hour to evaluate and advise. True to his word, Dino was onboard Pilots’ Discretion and hard at work evaluating our fuel leak within the hour. The bad news was that he felt the integral aluminum fuel tank had failed. Ordinarily, that would not be a big deal but the engineering drawings of our dinghy showed that the tank had been put in place with no access points for maintenance. In fact, the tank had been installed and then fiber glassed in place. The net result to us was that the only way to access the tank was to literally cut it out of the boat. This was going to be major surgery for our dinghy with it’s still shiny new 40hp Yamaha outboard. I was having visions of the entire thing ending up on a scrap heap in Antigua. To his credit, Dino was not quite as pessimistic as I was. He assured me that he had a first rate shop and could complete the repair in a fashion that would meet our requirements and our budget.

The gas tank was sealed beneath the fiber glass & had to be cut out

The gas tank was sealed beneath the fiber glass & had to be cut out

Once the suspect fuel tank was removed, we found the source of our mysterious fuel leak. The fuel tank had been part of the boats electrical bonding system (a robust bonding system prevents a condition known as galvanic corrosion, a form of corrosion of metals that can present itself in the marine environment anytime salt water and electrical current are present) Somewhere along the way, the bonding strap that was attached to the fuel tank broke off.

The bonding strap on the fuel tank was missing which caused galvanic corrosion to occur

The bonding strap on the fuel tank was missing which caused galvanic corrosion to occur

Once that occurred, it was just a matter of time before galvanic corrosion would take its toll on the aluminum tank.

A tiny little hole in your gas tank can really ruin your day!

A tiny little hole in your gas tank can really ruin your day!

We found the corrosion holes, replaced the tank and installed a more robust bonding attachment to the new tank. After all of this, the magicians at Seagull Inflatables still had to reconstruct our tender in a way that was both cosmetically flawless and resulted in a stronger boat than we had arrived with. Throughout the process, Dino was diligent about communicating with me 3 or 4 times a day to make sure that I had the opportunity to participate fully in the development and implementation of the repair. Our dinghy is once again operational and if I do not show you the improved structure around the fuel tank, you would not be able to tell that there had ever been a problem. We cannot say enough good things about the way the folks at Seagull Inflatables go about their business. Thank you Dino and crew for an outstanding repair on short notice. For any fellow cruisers that require any attention to their tender or safety equipment while in Antigua, we would urge you to contact the folks at Seagull Inflatables. Dino can be reached on his cell at 1 (268) 725-4466. Thanks again Dino for a first rate repair.

Randy polishing the dinghy

Randy polishing the dinghy

Sea Ray Neigbors, Marigot Bay, St. Lucia

NEW YEARS EVE IN ST. LUCIA – by Theresa

Cruising Past the Pitons, St. Lucia

Cruising Past the Pitons, St. Lucia

On our previous stop in St. Lucia earlier this year, we cruised past Marigot Bay and moored in the shadows of the Pitons. On this, our return trip, we motored on by the Pitons and cruised into Marigot Bay. We tied up in the most southeastern corner of the bay, directly in front of Capella Resort. As residents of the marina we had full access to all of the resort amenities, of which we took full advantage! We were fortunate enough to ring in the New Year here and were rewarded with a spectacular midnight fireworks display over the bay with front row viewing from the bow of the Pilot’s Discretion.

Marigot Bay is a noted hurricane hole that is lined with mangroves, beaches, and a plethora of restaurants, all dog friendly and with excellent cuisine. Many of the restaurants are only accessible via boat, either in your own dinghy or one of the many water taxis and ferries that service the bay. Not surprisingly, the boys particularly enjoyed the rope swing at the beach and kayaking around the calm waters in the bay.

Upon advice of cruising friends that have been in Marigot Bay before us, we sought out the hiking trail behind the Rain Forest Café (an actual café in a rain forest setting, not the chain restaurant). The hike was arduous, and very steep at times, but the views made it well worth the climb in the end.

Sea Ray, Marigot Bay, St. Lucia

Sea Ray, Marigot Bay, St. Lucia

Throughout our Caribbean voyage, we have seen countless sail boats and trawlers, but we have not seen many fellow Sea Rays. We were pleasantly surprised when we pulled into Marigot Bay to find several Sea Rays underway in  the bay, including our port side neighbor in his 52′ Sea Ray Sundancer.

 

Sea Ray Neigbors, Marigot Bay, St. Lucia

Sea Ray Neigbors, Marigot Bay, St. Lucia

We also shared the bay with our other boat neighbor, the 231′ Mega Yacht Talisman reminding us that  “there is always a bigger boat!”

M/V Talisman, Cruising Past Our Bow, Marigot Bay, St. Lucia

M/V Talisman, Cruising Past Our Bow, Marigot Bay, St. Lucia

Our plan is to continue exploring all that St. Lucia has to offer. Our next stop will take us further north to Rodney Bay and will be posting additional updates from there as time allows.

Typical St. Lucia

Typical St. Lucia

Theresa & Randy at the helm

We are underway!

Saturday September 27, 2014 0800


( The boys cast off)

The day has finally arrived and we wasted no time as everyone was up early, eager to get underway. We left Port Tarpon Marina with a full contingent of marina neighbors aboard our friends Bob and Dietland Coan’s Sea Ray to escort us out of the Anclote river.

Bob, DeeDee, Bruce & Myra escorting us down the Anclote River

Bob, DeeDee, Bruce & Myra escorting us down the Anclote River

(Pilots Discretion underway at 29 knots)

Once clear of the Anclote we turned south and headed down the ICW (Intracoastal Waterway) for Venice. As it turned out, nature wasted no time providing us a spectacular preview of the the wonders that await us in our new world of cruising.


(Dolphin in our wake)

A pod of dolphins took up station on our bow wave less than an hour into our trip and the boys got a front row seat as the dolphins took turns gliding just below the surface in front of our anchor and then breaking off to jump clear of the water and trail us in our wake. We did have a brief encounter with a few afternoon thundershowers while crossing Sarasota Bay but that really only served to give us a free freshwater wash down.

The first days run was completed in 10 hours after which we dined aboard and all hands slept like logs, exhausted but full of anticipation for the journey ahead. I am putting up a screen shot of our route with this post and we will create a subcategory within our blog to archive each days travel so that you can reference each leg of our trip as your curiosity warrants. Thanks to all of you that have sent along well wishes.

Pilots' Discretion track on day 1

Pilots’ Discretion track on day 1

The crew of the Pilots’ Discretion
Randy, Theresa, Ryan, Ronan and Patton