Trac Stabilizer Repair with Captain Jerry Taylor
Jerry, Wendy and crew member Hans Baier flew to San Juan on March 20, were picked up at the airport by the owners, who were flying home in a couple of days, and arrived at the boat in Puerto del Rey, Fajardo, around midnight.
Wednesday was spent familiarizing ourselves with the boat, provisioning and readying for sea.
On the advice of Ocean Marine Nav, we waited in Fajardo on Thursday as conditions north and west of Puerto Rico were in the NE20 to 30 knot range, with 8 to 10 foot seas.
We left early Friday morning and ran the 463 miles to Turks and Caicos in reasonably moderate conditions. We arrived off the bank early Sunday morning, slowed down to three knots, and waited for daylight to cross the bank to the anchorage at Sapodilla bay. We used Clear Sand Road, never seeing less than ten feet on the depth sounder. Bob’s forecast showed sharply increasing northeasterly winds and seas in the area for the next three days. Following his recommendations, we dropped the “hook” to wait for better weather conditions.
We spent Sunday, Monday and Tuesday while the wind howled, anchored in the company of several large motor-yachts, including a 200’ Feadship, and many sailboats. Anti-madness activities included cleaning, house keeping, laundry, bilge pump repair, and a lot of time spent in the galley preparing anti-boredom meals.
Wednesday morning the high wind and sea conditions eased some, and we departed via Sandbore channel for the 396 mile run to Highborne Cay, then planned on passing through Nassau harbor on our way to Cape Canaveral. Wind and seas remained moderate from the northeast until we started over the top of Crooked and Acklins Islands when the wind picked up to NE 20 -30 kts, and the seas on the beam increased to 6 to 10 feet. Things got a little “interesting” for several hours, even moving the heavy salon table from the starboard to the port side without damaging anything.
Entering the bank at Highborne cut, the seas moderated somewhat. At this time it became obvious that the starboard stabilizer was not functioning. Fortunately, on the N47 the starboard fin is accessible, and after removing some panels, Jerry was able to inspect the fin and noted that the actuator ram was moving back and forth unattached to the fin tiller -arm. Upon closer inspection he saw that the swivel end had unthreaded itself from
the ram. We called the owner by Sat-Phone, and he managed to contact the Ft Lauderdale rep for Trac on Saturday, and after satellite phone consultation with the Trac technician we decided that if we were stationary, we had a chance to make the repair. The only specialized tool required was a 1.5mm ( aprox.1/16 inch) allen wrench, and since the owner was so wonderfully particular about having every tool known to modern man on board, it was there in the tool box.
Not wanting to enter into the March mega-boat madness of the Nassau docking scene, we anchored at 1400 near Rose Island and by 1700 the repair was completed. We also checked the port side for looseness, and tightened that lock nut securely.
Sunday morning we departed Rose Island for the 271 miles to Cape Canaveral in much improved weather conditions, arriving at Cape Marina at 2015 Monday night after a spirited boost from the Gulf Stream.
Total Distance: 1100 NM
Total Running Hours: 165
Average Speed: 6.6 Knots at 1800 RPM
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