From Rum, we figured we had some options depending on weather. If the wind stayed south of east, we would shoot for Crooked Island, or maybe even fall back to Clarence Town on the east coast of Long Island. This would leave us with some eastbound motoring to do, but at least we could pick calm conditions without also worrying about wind direction. But we got lucky, and the wind stayed comfortably north of east instead, so after dinner, we set sail for Mayaguana. At over a hundred miles, this would be the longest passage we had made so far, and so we did a lot of staring at charts, and Captain was very clear about how he felt about this.
Before we left, we went to tighten the prodigal belt again, and looked a little more closely, and realized that it was in what I’m going to call “bad condition”. So Jazz took it off and replaced it with a new one (side-by-side below, note the charring), and we cleaned all the burned rubber out, and this time the alternator was going to be fixed, Once And For All, we were sure. Because this time we would tighten the belt properly at regular intervals, instead of leaving it for too long and letting it burn. (It burns because our 110 amp alternator puts a lot of load on the belt, so if it’s just a little too loose, it can slip, but since it’s still under not-quite-enough tension, that’s a lot of heat very fast.)
So we cleaned up and set sail, leaving just before a glorious sunset (so that we could see our way out through the reefs around Port Nelson).
The wind held as predicted, more or less, so we had a long and uncomfortable sail, as close to the wind as Villa would let us go. It took all night, all day, and a good bit of the next night, but we made it. We had intended to land at Betsy Bay, on the west side of the island, but as we got closer, the island effect twisted the wind on us, and we decided it would be easier to go south of the island instead. We anchored at Russel’s Bay, using a giant flashlight to find a patch of sand in 20 feet of water, threw on much-needed mosquito screens, and slept most of the night in nice calm water.
In the morning, we motored through another tricky set of reefs into Abraham bay, where it took six hours to check out of the country and buy 20 gallons of diesel. The diesel was the long pole – this involved 3 different suppliers, seven other people (some of whom promised to have others jailed, others of whom we had to pick up from a bar in Pirates’ Well…) long story, but we made it back to the boat, turned off the water maker before anything flooded, and motor-sailed across the south of the island to anchor off of some angry rocks and have a nice dinner before starting the next leg.
Belt Problem…some folks use double belts on these high output alternators to spread the load.
Yeah, that would probably help. Our main strategy is to have so much solar that there’s rarely much load on the alternator 🙂