Art trail adventures on Manjack, and a dilemma

On April 22, we headed out of the Treasure Cay anchorage in some breezy weather (we didn’t sleep much the night before as the anchorage was pretty rolly). With it blowing 16-24 out of the SW, we made an early morning exit at high tide to time the departure out of Whale Cut and then back in to Manjack Cay, a place we’d heard great things about but hadn’t checked out just yet.

We sailed with and without the jib as we worked our way to our destination, using the breeze as best we could. When we finally got there, we were more than dismayed to discover that our gooseneck (a rather critical part of the boat, where the boom connects to the mast) had somehow ejected 5 of its rivets (out of a total of 12). Yikes! Operation Fix-It commenced, as Patrick called around to the nearby islands to see if we could find a rigger and a rivet gun…but no dice. Then it was time to come up with alternative plans, because there was no way we were crossing back to the US with the gooseneck like that. With all of us researching, and a few calls to trusted advisors back in the States, we came up with drilling and tapping the connections with bolts, instead of replacing the rivets, and then, just for a belt and suspenders approach, winding spectra strapping around the area to hopefully reduce the shock loads when the boom moves.

We found a hardware store on Green Turtle (just one island over, a few miles away) that shockingly had the bolts we needed, and planned to head there the next day to pick them up. Finding a tap for that bolt size was another dilemma, though, so we decided to check in with our buddy boats, who had also come over to Manjack, to see if their supplies would deliver any of the precious items of which we were in need. We were planning to meet on shore to walk the art trail on Manjack, so we’d ask while we were all there.

The art trail was pretty fun – lots of “art” left by cruisers over the years.

We told our story to the other boats, and they promised to see what they had on board as we all headed back out to the anchorage. By a huge stroke of luck, Alpenglo had in their supplies both the bolts we needed and a tap to go with them. Amazing! Back at the boat, Nate and Patrick got to work drilling and tapping the bolts into the mast. It went pretty darn smoothly, aside from one broken drill bit, and soon they were all wrapped up.

We went over for dinner on Buffalo V, and everyone was happily surprised to hear that the guys had already resolved our gooseneck issue. What a relief! We planned to test it out by raising the main reef by reef when we were out on the water again, just to make sure the bolts wouldn’t loosen up and back out, or any other funniness. But man, did it feel good to have that problem addressed. Now we could still plan to head for the US in the next few days when a good window opened up.

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