Alone Like a Rolling Stone

Accidental Jibe

 The immigration office in Aruba makes life difficult for us. We are standing in front of the fence that separates us from customs and the immigration office. We want to leave tomorrow at the crack of dawn and therefore clear out today. That's why we rented a car, so that we don't have to go by boat from our anchorage back to the customs pier, which is very difficult to reach due to shallows. But they insist that we clear out with the boat. No chance to get past the guard. We don't have to ask for the sense, because the next day, when we show up with the boat, nobody is interested in the boat. We fill out the papers and get our stamp in the passport, done. The whole action delays our departure by about three hours. We take it calmly and set sail towards Colombia.

Final preparations for Colombia, cleaning dinghy.

The weather forecast indicates moderate wind and indeed only a lukewarm breeze blows, with just 12 knots. The wave is also moderate, with half a meter, so we get into our rhythm very quickly. The Los Monjes, a few rocks in front of the peninsula de la Guajira, appear in the evening sun. Due to the clearing out we have frittered away quite a lot of time. We will probably pass Cape Punta Gallinas during the night. The cape is notorious among sailors. Not infrequently it whistles here, with 40 knots and more, around the corner. Not without reason it is recommended not to go below the 1000m water depth line, because in the shallow water quite nice breakers can build up. With a sinking feeling, in view of the many stories about the cape, and a caution reef, we sail into the night. We do not keep the 1000m line as there is no wind or wave that night. The many beacons around the peninsula irritate a little and you have to be quite careful which one you have now across. In the morning of the next day, the wind dies down even further. 

Best sailing weather towards Colombia

Again begins a phase of dilly-dallying. But around noon the wind increases steadily and so we reach, during the crossing to Santa Marta, still our 20 knots of wind. With aft wind we pick up speed. Also the wave is slowly getting higher. In the meantime the course is set directly to Santa Marta. Blood red the sun dives into the sea in the west. The play of colors is indescribable. The autopilot has a lot to do with the wave from astern. Also the wind comes from the northeast, but turns every now and then to the east, which makes the sail position very difficult. As usual, I have a lazy guy attached to the boom jib via a pulley. The genoa is furled to two thirds. Around two o'clock in the morning there is a terrible blow. The lazy guy hangs loosely on deck and dangles from the boom nock. The mainsheet block has been torn and the pulley of the lazy guy is also gone. We did a accidental jibe. For me the first ever. It's hard to imagine what would have happened if the lazy guy hadn't been set. What happened at all? The wind shifted to the southeast and after a wave passed under the boat, the cat lost speed and thus unloaded the mainsail. The lazy guy wasn't pushed through tight enough and when the sail got wind, there was so much force on the pulley that it came apart. The sail flipped. Fortunately, except for the block and the pulley, only the sheet broke. It slit open on a defective roller of the block. 

                                                                    Disassembled pulley

At night, the field of vision is limited to the existing light cones, which makes the whole thing even more exciting. The adrenaline is quite high and during the, admittedly somewhat hectic actions, I also pull a nasty abrasion, on the back of the left hand. We get our Katinka however quite fast again manageable. Because we can not fully assess the damage during the night, we first recover the main and continue with the genoa. The next morning we are 40 nautical miles from Santa Marta. The main and the boom have not been damaged. I set the mainsail again. Meanwhile the wind comes from the south, so we are far away from the danger of a accidental jibe. In the course of the morning, however, the wind falls asleep again. When we make under two knots of speed, we recover the sails and continue our journey under motor. 

Sunset in Santa Marta, Colombia

In the late afternoon we reach Santa Marta, where we have reserved a berth in the marina. It is the first marina stay since April 2022 and I am most looking forward to a long lasting shower. Yes, yes I know, I should not shower but use the washcloth, but we are not in Baden W├╝rttemberg. Over VHF 16 I call Port Control and register. Afterwards I inform the marina via channel 68. The clearance here in Colombia must be done by an agent, but is taken over by the marina in Santa Marta. It couldn't be easier and after all the stress with the immigration in Aruba, we are very happy with that. We let the first impressions work on us and are immediately inspired by this country. Very friendly people, fun-loving and cosmopolitan. I think we will spend some nice days here. We are definitely excited and looking forward to Colombia. What we experience here so everything we tell you next time. It remains exciting as always. We wish everyone fair winds and keep a stiff upper lip.

Sundowner Santa Marta Marina, Kolumbien


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