Over the years, I’ve used The Boat Galley newsletter to share what we’ve been up to and what we’ve learned while doing it.
Here’s one feature from a while back that explains what we learned when a sudden break happened on a remote passage while trying to outrace a squall. Hopefully this will help you know what to do if something similar happens to you.
Never a good sound on a boat, especially when in the middle of a 52-mile hop in a remote place (the Bight of Abaco) with a nasty black squall just behind you.
Dave’s and my heads spun to find the source of the noise and immediately we saw that our dinghy davits were sitting at a funny angle. A weld on one of the supports had broken.
We stopped the boat and immediately lowered the dinghy into the water and onto a tow line to get the weight off the davits. Then we added support for the davits using rachet straps and spare line. Luckily, the squall missed us and the water went from choppy to glassy smooth; the nearest anchorage was 20+ miles away.
At anchor that night, we could examine the davits more closely and discovered that three welds had broken and one cracked. We added more support to the davits and got the outboard off the stern rail where one of the broken welds was. We figured out a better way to tow the dinghy and how to put the outboard in the cockpit.
Yesterday, we made it 55 glassy-smooth miles to Great Harbour Cay in the Berrys. From here, the US is the most logical place to go for repairs, and the very calm weather continues this week. We’re prepping today and tomorrow we’ll be off at daybreak for a 160-mile overnight passage back to the Florida Keys in what is forecast to be very benign conditions.
- Things happen in a heartbeat. You never know what you may suddenly be called on to deal with.
- Rachet straps can be tensioned far tighter than lines, even using trucker’s hitches. Great to have in your emergency kit.
- All that spare line that we carry around proved its worth as we fashioned a double towing bridle for the dinghy (primary plus safety) and tied off the davits.
- Knowing how to tie basic knots – bowline, rolling hitch and trucker’s hitch – was critical.
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