April 22, emergency anchorage

After our documents troubles in Puerto Williams we left for Yendegaya. The journey was far from calm. We have been having troubles with the engine even before we got to Puerto Williams and although Ian thought he’d fixed it he couldn’t be further from the truth.
Let me retrace back to that first night in Puerto Williams where our engine troubles started. As we were pulling up to the docks our engine suddenly stopped. We were meters away from boat tied to the dock in a tricky maneuvering situation when it just gave away. I remember Liam and I were in front of the boat slowly pulling it into position next to another boat when the engine stopped and without that extra control we could see it rapidly advancing towards the back of the boat that was in front of us. Next thing we thought is push it as hard as we could away from the fast approaching boats while trying not to get our hands crushed. Ian has warned us against that sort of thing.
– Whatever you do, you never put you body of parts of it in between two boats. You will get crashed. People have been known to have such accidents – he said.
Luckily, Ian managed to turn the engine back on just in time and get us into position before it was too late. Later that night Ian had a look at the engine, thinking the cooling system had failed and rearranging pipes in an attempt to get it to work. We ran a few tests and thought we had fixed it, thought we could carry on with our trip and so we did.
Our troubles started soon after we left Puerto Williams. The engine would just stop. So that day Ian spent a lot of time crouching by the engine, trying to fix it. He changed one filter, then another, but it still didn’t function properly. It got darker and darker and we were far from Yendegaya. Ian got us as far as he could but finally resigned and decided to go back to Puerto Williams as it wasn’t safe to continue with a motor that wasn’t functioning properly. We were all so disappointed. We had just sailed for a whole day only to go back to where we had started, not knowing whether we would be able to continue at all. Ian was most disappointed of all of us.
– I am disgusted! Absolutely disgusted – he exclaimed. He wasn’t happy with our situation and didn0’t want to go back. Later his expression became a joke among ourselves. Something to laugh about.
The details are a bit blurry now, but I remember sitting in the cockpit while the waves were pushing us around rather unforgiving. We could see the lights of Ushuaia in the distance. I sat there, my body shivering, gone beyond any warming, tightly clutching to whatever was available, trying to keep a balance on the tilted boat. It was scary. I was scared. We were in the middle of nowhere, our motor wasn’t functioning properly, the weather was worsening, it was dark, and we had no idea whether there will be a trip at all. Even Ian’s calm assurance and relaxed movements didn’t make me feel any better.
I decided to go inside to warm up and I must have fallen asleep as when I woke up the guys were releasing the anchor. ‘Where are we?’ I asked. ‘Are we back in Puerto Williams?’. Ian told me he had found a good anchorage in the guidebook just a couple of miles away so we didn’t have to go all the way back. Good thing we had Giorgio’s (a fellow Italian sailor) guidebook with us.
We got up the next morning and Ian got to work on the engine. At last we determined the cause of the problem and fixed it. It turned out that there was water in the filters that needed to be drained. Once that was done we didn’t have any more engine trouble.
What a way to start the trip though!
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