Dave and Peg’s Big “Misadventure”- 2021

Dave is a Catamaran Guru team broker and Dave & Peggy are full time cruisers on their Lagoon 380 called “Simplicity”. Their “misadventure” has some important lessons for prospective buyers and future cruisers: 

It is not always moonshine and roses onboard, but our sailing community is strong and when it gets bad, we all bound together to help a fellow cruiser.

The second lesson is: You must be able to, at a minimum, diagnose issues on your boat before you call in the experts. It will save you a lot of time and money. Be able and prepared to fix smaller issues so it doesn’t slow you down too much. 

We recommend you take an engine course, have this Boat Owners Manual book by Nigel Calder on hand and join some Facebook groups like the Lagoon owners group etc. The cruisers can be very helpful, after all they are all “in the same boat”!

And lastly: Never give up because, when it’s good, it is REALLY good. No matter how hard it could be sometimes, we always go back for more! Before you leave on your next trip, check out our Pre-departure boat checklist.

“Peggy and I had worked our way down the ICW from the Chesapeake Bay to Beaufort, SC on our Lagoon 380, SIMPLICITY, en-route to the Bahamas.  Lady’s Island Marina in Beaufort is our home away from home. As full-time cruisers we have established relationships with doctors, dentists, and other health care providers in Beaufort. We find it a convenient stop north and south bound and always plan to spend a month or more.  

From there it was off to Florida and time to check in with our Catamaran Guru office in Hollywood.  Anchored nearby in South Lake we finished provisioning, got some face time with Stephen and Stellie and arranged for the required COVID PCR test.  Timing of the test was important as once done, we had to have a weather window for crossing to the West End. Once we got our weather window, we only had 5 days for the next COVID test.   The tests came back negative for the both of us and we staged for our departure out of Port Everglades. The next day we were off early, had to dodge some large freighters on the way out, but otherwise had a smooth passage. 

We cleared customs at the West End on Grand Bahama and the next morning we were off to Great Sale Cay for a night and then Manjack Cay.  A day later we were on a mooring ball in Black Sound, (Green Turtle Cay) and the day after that got our rapid COVID tests at the clinic in town (Cost included in the $60 health visa fee). That’s when things started going sideways.

We hadn’t made it far when the doctor came dashing after us and called Peggy back to the office. She had tested positive, and we were both told to return to our boat immediately for the fourteen-day quarantine period.  We advised Donny (owner of the mooring ball) and our neighbors on nearby boats of the situation, then settled in for the duration.  As always, the other cruisers were great. They checked in with us daily on the VHF, made sure we had fresh vegetables and fruit when the mail boat came in and hauled away our trash.  Fortunately, Peggy’s symptoms never got serious, for ten days she just slept, A LOT! I kept busy working on small projects around the boat.  

It was about the time Peggy got to feeling better we started having some boat issues. First it was the seven-year-old Mercury outboard for the dinghy. To this point it had always been a two-pulls to start engine, without issues. Then I noticed some light smoke when it started and then on a high speed run it would be going fine, then cough and die and be hard to start. 

Next were the house batteries.  Our house bank consists of three 210-amp/hour batteries. They were 4 ½ years old and like the outboard had never given us any trouble. Then one morning we woke up to the battery monitor reading 0% state of charge (SOC). That day we used our generator, solar panels and wind generator to bring them back up to 100 SOC. The next morning, we were back around 80%, which we expect. But as soon as we turned on a faucet, which in turn, turned on the water pump we were back to a 0% SOC! I’m not an electrician but understood that this PROBABLY meant we had a bad cell in one of the three house batteries. After some consultation with a qualified electrician, I was able to determine which battery had the bad cell and remove it from the system.  

At this point we evaluated our situation. Peggy, while no longer sick, was still not feeling 100%. One of three house batteries had failed, would others follow? Our outboard, like Peggy, was not 100%. So, we opted to head home. We ended up spending a week at the West End at Old Bahama Bay Marina. Peggy insisted I at least get some fishing in so I went out with Tommy Nolle from Bonefish Folly for a great day of fly fishing for bonefish and a day of jigging for Yellowtail. It was all I needed to make it a great trip.

We crossed back to Fort Pierce in some 7 to 10’ beam swells but got back to Vero Beach where we replaced our batteries, repaired our outboard and headed north to Beaufort, SC.  

SIMPLICITY is ready for our next adventure.  We’ll head to the Bahamas early this year to miss “the weather” and stay late. 

Safe Sailing, Dave

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