Saturday, April 18, 2015

s/v Seqquel. The story from the participants!

Following is from Sally aboard Seaquel, anchored this morning off Boqueron PR. It explains the emergency and the head injury, as well as the trip to PR afterwards.

Dear Friends,
The short version is that we are fine,the boat is good and we are sitting in Boqueron PR at anchor waiting for the mechanic!
Thank you all for your concern yesterday! We know this is a small world when so many of you heard about our problem. So here is the long version...

On Wednesday at 0600 we left the anchorage at San Juan for the Turks and Caicos. The distance is 360 miles. For us averaging 5.5 knots it would be a 60 hour trip...a two nighter! We were making great time averaging over 6 knots when I noticed that the bilge pump was on. It was 3 AM (naturally) and we were 120 miles from the Dominican Republic and from Puerto Rico! We tried to find the source of water and deal with pumping it out with a shop vac since the bilge pump was not keeping up. Andy decided that the best thing to do was call the coast guard, but our VHF would never get through so he interrupted a ham net and asked for someone to call the U.S. Coast Guard in PR. Bless those hams! He called the coast guard and we went back to our problem. We found that the Dripless stuffing box that goes between the shaft and the transmission had worked loose and by jamming a screw driver in place immobilizing the shaft from turning kept the water from coming in. About this time the Coast Guard arrived in a helicopter and called us on VHF. They wanted to know how we were doing and how they could help. They had a pump with them which they offered but we decided we did not need it. We had stopped the leak and gotten rid of the water. We told them that we would be returning to P R under sail because we could not use the engine without the shaft turning! As the CG is getting ready to leave Andy takes a bad fall,cutting his head about 4 inches above the ear. Suddenly there is another problem! The cut is bleeding profusely and Andy is dazed and feeling sick. I called the CG who are still hovering and tell them what has just happened. We decide their on board medic should take a look at him. You can imagine the thoughts that are now going through my head! Andy is able to help me take the sails down so the boat is DIW. Dead in the water! The medic is lowered into the water and comes aboard to help Andy. After cleaning his wound he does not feel that Andy needs to be med evaced. YEW! In the mean time the helo has had to return to P R to refuel. After stabilizing Andy the Medic and I raise the sails and plot a position for the west coast of PR and off we go. When the helicopter returns they bring a sat phone for me to have to make future contacts and they have me try a call back to the station! What a wonderful psychological boast that was for us! The medic jumps in the water and we are on our own feeling that we have been fortunate to have averted two potentially dangerous situations. Are we ever lucky to have such professional people in our Coast Guard! As the CG left the sun is coming up and we sail until 11:30 pm when we are taken under tow just outside of Boqueron PR. The sat phone was so helpful in arranging for SeaTow as well. They got us settled on the anchor. They also were very professional! Today hopefully we will have the mechanic fix our problem and we can plan to start again! During all this our Grandaughter Katie who is a LTJG (P) in the Coast Guard and a class mate of the helo pilot kept the family calm! We are so proud that she is a part of the CG. So that's the long story...we are tired, but blessed that we have so many that were thinking about us yesterday! Thank you all for your concerns and to all a good day!
Sally & Andy on board Seaquel
Sent from my iPad


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