Jeff, Mike and Jerry's Cruising Adventure - Day 10
United States Alabama Orange Beach
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Cabin Boy Jeff - Log - Day 10
Crisis averted and back in port. Here is the last 40 hours:
-We left yesterday, mid morning, with what would be our last food until McDonalds this afternoon at 3pm.
-The waves were big as predicted and we took a beating all the way until the sun set.
-The sun set and wind and waves simply increased.
-We turned on the football game and I began dinner. I put the rice in the microwave and was watching Arkansas (GO HOGS) score their first touchdown when..............TOTAL ELECTRONIC FAILURE!
-The boat went to pitch black at which point I yelled "WHAT THE ---- WAS THAT". Simply put, I have never been more scared on a boat than at that moment.
-Jerry had told us minutes before that the radar had stopped transmitting. Mike and I began scrambling for flashlights and Jerry remained at the helm on a compass bearing.
-I can't imagine taking a more knowledgeable sailor, mechanic, electrician etc. than Mike. I simply did what I was told and helped Mike as we ripped everything apart and tracked down the problem. Frankly, the last thing on our minds were the 5 - 7 foot seas slamming us as we laid on our stomachs tracing wires all over the boat. After we had determined that the house batteries were dead, not charging and that the start battery was the only thing being charged by the engine, Mike wired the house batteries to the start battery and slowly we began to get small amounts of power back.
-The whole process took us about 40 minutes and they were honestly very terrifying moments. If you don't get it, then you would just have to be there.
-Jerry was exhausted after our crisis and Mike and were both seasick. I recovered first and Mike just seemed to worsen. Long story short, I spent the next six and a half hours at the helm, hand steering through 5 - 7 foot waves while the wind had picked up to 25+. I got into the groove for a couple of hours and powered through the next four and a half hours so that the crew could recover.
-By 2am I had lost ALL my love affair for boats and cruising. I was ready to get off the boat. Mike had found our closest ditch point 50 miles away and we arrived in Panama City FL at 7am and tied up to the fuel dock.
-We finished our projects which included putting the tornado, which was the boat, back together with almost no sleep and no food in over 30 hours. We walked half a mile and found the only thing open, McDonalds and ate our much awaited meal.
-This afternoon we laid around and were pretty lazy. Were headed out again in the morning after a good night sleep and we will talk to everyone when we reach Tampa or the Keys. The weather window is improving beginning Tuesday and if that pattern holds and we have no more crises, we will bypass Tampa and sail downwind in 10 - 15 knts in 2 - 3 foot seas.