S/V Delilah

A Blog to track the wanderings of the S/V Delilah, a 37-foot Tayana sailboat.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


Thursday, March 29

Water Island, Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, U.S.V.I.
N 18 degrees, 19.757 minutes
W 064 degrees, 56.919 minutes

As we mentioned in a previous blog, we treated ourselves to a newer dinghy so we would not have to worry about transportation for our last few months at sea. So what happened next? Our outboard engine promptly quit. Now, this would not be such a catastrophe, except the engine stopped working just as we were at "battle stations": our frantic, final preparations for Rose and Stephen's arrival on March 23. How would we get them to the boat? After that, how would we all get off the boat again?

Fortunately for us, we happened to be anchored next to Ryan and Mumfy on Liberty, whom we had last seen in August back in Trinidad. We borrowed their engine to pick up our guests. The rest of the time, we figured we'd get around by rowing or swimming ashore.

Soon enough, we ran into Eira, and they came to the rescue with an EXTRA dinghy engine, nicknamed the eggbeater, as that's just about how much power a 2hp engine packs. We were thrilled to have any motorized assistance, so we borrowed it, and we all celebrated together on the beach in Leinster Bay, St. John. Menno and family patiently and skillfully prepared the conch we had harvested behind Waterlemon Cay. Dean and I have learned to leave conch cleaning to the experts, as we only manage to make a mess and torture the poor creatures in an attempt to make dinner. As it turns out, I'd rather have a blue burger at Skinny Legs in Coral Bay any time.

But this blog isn't about our time in St. John, as Rose and Stephen will provide details in their guest blog (assuming we ever get access to the Internet again). This is about the story of our dinghy engine.

Some time in the middle of our visit with Rose and Stephen, we got a call on the radio from Forbes and Jamie, two cruisers on Indra whom we met for the first time in St. Martin. Indra, originally from New Hampshire, is heading north this spring as well, and they were calling to see what our plans were. Over the VHF in the middle of a tack, I gave our five-second situation (guests until the 28th, then one outboard to fix and another to return). Forbes shot back with his instant engine diagnosis (a spun hub), and a great offer (he'd meet us in St. Thomas today and give us a replacement propeller).

Dean and I, knowing that nothing is ever that easy, were skeptical. But we figured, as we were returning to St. Thomas to drop Rose and Stephen near the airport, that we might at least find a repair shop. We decided that, rather than anchor off the town, we'd try staying at Water Island, which is close to Crown Bay, a full-service marina. And as we dropped our anchor there, we saw a boat nearby that looked familiar. After closer inspection with binoculars, we recognized Maranatha, which we last saw at Waterboat Marina in October 2005! Rob left the marina just a few short weeks ahead of us for an offshore passage to St. Thomas, and he has been here ever since.

Rob spotted us on his way back to Maranatha last night, and when he came aboard to catch up, we mentioned our outboard woes. Rob's immediate diagnosis: a spun hub. He even showed us how to do a quick test to confirm it. Yup, we need a new prop.

So it's looking like it's going to be that easy. Indra is anchoring nearby as I type. As soon as we get the new prop from Forbes, we'll drop off Eira's outboard with mutual friends who have settled in the harbor here, and then we'll head over to the Spanish Virgin Islands with Indra and maybe Carapan, followed one day later by Amanzi, for a few days of magnificent snorkeling.


Blogger Gregory Burd said...

The little engine that could, then couldn't, then with a little help from your friends, could continue on. What a cool story of cruising friendliness.

11:03 AM  

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