We took Ah Ma out on a couple of day trips to Fuik bay. On these trips we had crew in the form of curious friends and related people that just came along to enjoy a day at the bay. A day on the Bay usually constitutes a big cooler full of wine and beer and some light snacks. Many (motor) boats pull in to Fuik every weekend, tying the back to the gravel beach, blaring loud music, relaxing, enjoying the island life…
On our first sail out, the feeling of crossing the last barrier at the entrance of Spanish water was exhilarating. You see the depth gauge fall down from a few meters to fifty, sixty and more. The swell starts to push the bow up and down and the engine needs some more revs to push against the current. As we get some distance from the reef it was time to hoist genoa, or rather unfurl. Suddenly a penetrating beeping noise disturbed our joy. It was the engine, a German notice was on the display. And of course no one on board understood German. We turned off the engine and drifted a bit, whilst trying to google what this message meant. After some quick Google translations we figured that the engine was overheating, what did we forget when getting the boat ready?
The reefs were slowly getting closer so we shifted attention to unfurling the genoa to get some forward momentum, away from danger. We were still in cellphone reach, so consulted with the broker and the owner via whatsapp. It soon became clear that the water intake valve wasn’t open. The lever for this intake was hidden from view in the engine bay. With the water intake open we started the engine again to flush cool water through the system. The alarm seized, so we waited for the temps to drop to reasonable levels and we were in our way upwind.
A first lesson learned, make sure all the right seacocks are open (and closed) when preparing the boat for departure.
On the short upwind haul she performed admirable. The 55ft long relatively flat bottom cut through the two meter tall waves without too much banging around. In the constant 20knot plus westerlies of the Curacao the rig was happy at about 75 percent sail. We were happy with our purchase so far.
On the second weekend sail over to Fuik, I’ve learnt my second important lesson. Never let some ‘racing sailor’ take the wheel on a tack. This individual thought we had to tack in record speed, confusing the hell out of everyone on board. Breaking the control knob of the bow thruster in the process as he had a coil of sheet line over the control panel, which was yanked hard as the nose went through the wind and the sails grabbed air. A second costly lesson learned.
Still it was great to get some expert advice on how to navigate the shallow entrances to the Spanish Waters and the Fuik bay. With a bit more than 2 meters under the waterline, there isn’t much room to manoeuvre. Linda was trained by my friends to take the wheel whilst navigating the Spanish Waters on engine, manoeuvring from waypoint to waypoint back to the marina.