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The Voyage of Spectacle Thoughts on Tortola

The Voyage


Andy and Melissa are sailing around the world on their 48-foot sailboat, Spectacle.

The Position

Bali, Indonesia

The Pictures

The Voyage of Spectacle

Thoughts on Tortola

To be honest, Tortola has been a somewhat weird stop for us.  I think that yesterday I figured out why this is.

It’s hard to think of a place where sailing is more of an “end” than it is here.  Scads of people fly in here, charter a sailboat, go sailing around the Virgin Islands, return the boat and fly The View at Nanny Cay Marina home.  The trip is about the sailing — and the sailing IS indeed great.  Throw in a few rum punches at Foxy’s and Soggy Dollar Bar, and that makes for a pretty nice getaway — I get it.

But, for us, our trip isn’t about the sailing – and it isn’t for a week or two.  Sailing is, for us, a “means” to see the world.  This is a trip around the world that happens to be on a sailboat.

And, speaking of sailing, not much of that is happening for us right now.  You may recall that our original plan was to sail the boat from the Bahamas straight to the Virgin Islands to have some repairs done.  After the Twin Fiascoes and the trip to Puerto Plata, we have even more repairs to add to the list.  Here’s a PARTIAL list:

  • Replace entire battery bank (5 new Lifeline 8D AGM batteries).  Four of the 5 current batteries areNot Only Are the Batteries $675 Each, They Are Also 180 Pounds Each!  Here's Part of the Team Using the Mainsail Halyard to Hoist One Battery onto the Boat!  It Was Quite an Operation! shot.  No sense in replacing   just four.  Good news … they’re only $675 each (not counting labor).  Ouch!
  • A new forward hatch, replacing the old hatch which (inexplicably) had a little solar fan on it, which  ensured that the whole forward cabin would be under 4-5 inches of water if you were sailing upwind.  This is a straight-up design defect – you aren’t doing much upwind sailing with that thing on there.
  • A new companionway slide (which I accidentally broke on the way to the D.R.).
  • Repairs to the companionway screen (another “oops” moment).
  • Reattachment of the autopilot rudder return indicator mount, which spontaneously disintegrated just as we were landing the boat here in Tortola.
  • Repairs and steel reinforcement of both salon tables (these were ridiculously flimsy and had obviously been broken multiple times before).
  • Freezer repair (this has never really worked very well).
  • Fridge repair (ditto).
  • Fix both air conditioners (the forward one needed a new pump, the aft one only minor repairs).
  • A comprehensive rust removal/polishing of all the stainless steel on the boat.
  • Sanding and oiling of the toe-rail (we’re removing the varnish and returning the teak to a natural finish)Quantum Sail Loft Taking Away the Mainsail for Repair -- Unbelievable That the Sail from a 64-Foot Mast Folds Up That Small!.
  • Yet another diagnosis/repair of the generator (we  have some sort of oil pressure problem).
  • Repairs and batten replacement on the mainsail  (thanks to my stupid Christmas Day furling maneuver).
  • About a dozen more “do it yourself” jobs, including sourcing and installing a new, proper-sized fuel-filter head to swap for our emergency, over-sized replacement from the D.R.

Obviously, this is going to be shockingly expensive (probably five figures).  But almost all of it simply HAS to be done.

Given the extent of the repairs, we have workmen coming to and from the boat basically every day.  This means that, by and large, we are stranded in the marina.  Even today (Sunday), we have a guy here working on the boat.  Aside from boat repairs, there are basically two things to do here: sail and drink.  We can’t really sail.  Fortunately, we’ve made some good friends here.  More on that in the next post.

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