Going back north we were on starboard tack. On the passage from Dominica to Les Saintes I had noticed a little water under the cabin sole, but we’d assumed it was normal bilge water that was appearing because of the extreme heel. Today we again saw water and at first dismissed it, but after a while it appeared to be increasing.
Normally the automatic bilge pump would have taken care of it, but when that didn’t work we tried the manual electric pump. That didn’t work either though we tried to fix it and clean any blockages. Finally there is an emergency manual hand pump in the cockpit, but though we took turns at that for 10 minutes it too failed. We weren’t sinking yet but it was disquieting and Darren decided to take action. We made it to port without much further ado and without sinking.
There we practiced docking at the fuel dock, where an Englishman and his family in a very nice sloop had also tied up for the evening. Since most of us were only trying this for the first time and it showed, he was sweating bullets hoping we wouldn’t crash into him. Our skipper, Bob, told him, “We’re very well insured.”