Maldague Back at Sea, Heading for Saint Martin
In late March, Arnaud Maldague’s progress through the Caribbean had been halted by the spread of COVID-19. He anchored in Jamaica and has spent the last two and a half months making repairs while waiting for the Dominican Republic to open its borders.
Finally, in early June he received positive news. He was keen to immediately get moving but had some issues with the boat after so long in one place. His anchor had sunk deep into the mud and it took five hours (and a broken winch) to retrieve it. This necessitated another day in Jamaica to get a new winch, which he was able to dramatically salvage from an abandoned hurricane wreck!
Next, his motor refused to start, again delaying his departure. This turned out to be a stroke of good luck. While fixing the motor issue, the weather suddenly changed and a fierce wind blew in. Maldague was relieved to still be safely anchored.
On June 8 he was finally underway from Kingston in improved weather. He is aiming towards the island of Saint Martin, while trying to give Haiti a wide-berth due to rumours of piracy and “disturbances.” He has now been at sea for seven days and reports that he is roughly a third of the way to Saint Martin.
His progress has been slow for two reasons. First, his autopilot does not work at night, necessitating short bursts of sleep and careful night-time navigation. The second problem occurred when his front sail was ripped by his mast spreaders in the night. He hopes to repair the sail in Saint Martin, but will have to make do with smaller sails (and a slower pace) until then.