June 9, 2019
I’m writing from Marina Cap Cana, still in the DR. This was not part of the plan but after hitting what seems to have been a reef yesterday at around 3am, I didn’t have the choice.
After two days at marina Puerto Bahia preparing the boat, yesterday (June 8) I got my “despacho” at 6am, moved Antares to the full dock to get diesel and gasoline, and got under way by 7am. The guys at the marina were great (ask for Ramon), helping me with the lines and also solving a last minute problem with the wind-vane; one of the screws that holds the vane to the frame broke.
All was going well, at 3am I was well past Cabo Engaño, motor sailing, ready to tack towards Mona Island in daylight when Antares was stopped suddenly with a horrible crash. I was supposed to be in 60+ feet of water according to iNavx. I expected the worse (boat sinking), so that my first reaction was to get the life raft and ditch bag ready in case of evacuation (and putting the engine in neutral). I could hear that Antares was in pain, trying to free herself from whatever was holding her there, something massive. Only then I started to make sense of the situation. I disengaged the autopilot which had been steering the boat and was still trying, desperately, to turn the wheel (somehow the wind-vane lines were all tangled in the wheel). I went to check the bilge, there was water but the pump seemed to be handling. Then I called my wife to alert her of the situation. All this time I was assuming it would be impossible to move the boat, that she was lost. But then I tried. I put reverse, then forward and slowly the beast let Antares go. I was in control again, sort of, because I had to steer, couldn’t do much more, and the swells were abominable.
By then my wife had contacted the local coast guard. I was very close to Cap Cana marina when the accident happened, and the army based there came to the rescue. They towed me by 5am or so. Antares was inspected this morning. No structural damages and things that broke with the impact have been fixed. The passage will continue. Hope to depart again on Tuesday. Another lesson…