Bad crew - pah - try bad skippers & owners, I have more but this will do for starters!
I joined a boat in Trinidad and we set off to sail to Grenada
. As soon as we got the sails
up it was clear that the boat was unprepared as everything in the cabin
started flying around including the cat's litter tray.
The trip took 24 hours longer than planned because our skipper
was unaware of the current
that we clearly marked on the chart. On the same trip the ship's cat was seasick on my bed
. And the skipper insisted that the monitor wind vane
didn't need to be adjusted for the wind-angle, we just needed to engage it and it would steer us in a straight line - of course this didn't work so we hand-steered the whole trip too.
We arrived at about 0100 on Boxing day (should have been Christmas
day!) and anchored outside St George's harbour. The next morning we made ready to enter the harbour at which point the skipper revealed that the gear
selector mechanism didn't work. I jury rigged a push rod/pull cord and he took us in to pick up a buoy, whilst shouting 'forward, reverse' to me controlling the gears from the cabin sole
. It soon became apparent that he couldn't do it, so I sent him forwards 'to catch the buoy' and then did it myself at the stern whilst steering
and rushing below to control the gears.
Once I had rebuilt the gear
linkage and my other faithful crew-member had secured everything and we had bought some proper charts
, we set off for Carriacou, after a week or so there we headed north for Union Island. During that trip while I was at the helm
we got caught in a squall, the skipper/owner insisted on helping the other crew to reef the main, only to get knocked almost overboard
(he was the only one not wearing harness and lifejacket). Shortly after reefing the yankee in the same squall, the furling
line snapped and I had to rush forward, jury rig it with some spare line and furl the sail.
dropped right off and we were in danger
of not making the harbour by nightfall so we started to motor
. I noticed it was getting pretty warm in the cabin
and had a look at the engine
temp-gauge in the cockpit
- it was off the scale. When I pointed that out to the skipper he said 'oh yeah it always does that', just then the other crew came up from below and said the cabin was filling with smoke. Thankfully the heat-activated powder extinguisher in the engine
bay had done its job - we left it for a bit and then opened up the cabin sole
while I stood ready with another extinguisher, but the fire was out. We then limped into Union Island harbour (none of us had ever been there before), in the dark, under sail and dropped the anchor
between two reefs
and sat there all night while the wind
howled and tried to blow us onto a lee shore.
I stuck around for a bit while I pulled his engine apart (and stopped him from topping the sump up with water) to find that the header-tank had corroded through into the exhaust
manifold. I put him in touch with the chandlers on Union island, and got the hell out of there. 2 years later I read that he was lost overboard
his own boat while alone on watch in the middle of the night somewhere near Niue
, it was only discovered when his crew woke up the next morning to relieve him.