Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Boat problem

See the crack in the skeg just ahead of the rudder? Not good!
Shortly after we arrived here in Isla Mujeres, I put on my snorkeling gear to take a look at the growth accumulating on Whispering Jesse below the waterline. What I saw under there shocked me: the skeg that the rudder is attached to was separating from the hull! There was a wide crack at the juncture between the skeg and the hull that ran all the way around and a second crack that ran all the way down the forward edge of the skeg. I could see inside the crack that the structure of the skeg was still intact, but it appeared that the only thing holding the outer layer of fiberglass in place was the hardware that attaches it to the rudder.

The boat's hull had been professionally cleaned at Delegal Creek Marina in late March, and I'm sure the gentleman who did the job would have told me if he had seen anything suspicious. So the damage must have occurred either during the shakedown sail we did before our big trip down here or sometime during the trip itself. The logical assumption is that it happened when we ran aground on a sandy shoal during low tide at the entrance to the Delegal Creek channel. The boat pivoted on its keel as it rounded into the wind, and it's possible that the skeg contacted the shoal as well. We were stuck there for over an hour until the rising tide lifted us off, which would be plenty of time to create the kind of damage that now exists.

The scary thing about this is that it means we sailed all the way from Savannah to Isla Mujeres--over a thousand miles--with the damaged skeg. If I had snorkeled under the boat when we reached Florida, where the water was less murky, and seen the damage, I probably would have ended the trip right there.

Now we're in Mexico and the repair may be difficult and expensive, but it needs to be done before the boat can be sailed again. There is only one real boatyard with a lift here on Isla Mujeres. Fortunately, it is only a few hundred yards away, on the channel connecting the bay and the lagoon. We have received a haul and block quote from them already, and it was not unreasonable. With any luck, the repair estimate, which will need to wait until the boat is hauled and inspected, will also be reasonable. Before we motor over there, though, I am thinking it might be a good idea to go under the boat with some cord and lash the skeg together as best I can, just in case.

1 comment:

Antony said...

I just hope repair price would be reasonable.Keep posting updates John