Monday 12th March 2012
A very pleasant day - not much sailing, with wind down to just 5 knots and variable in direction by noon, but with warm sunshine and swell down to around just 2.5m, I got some important jobs done on deck. When boatspeed got down to below 2.5kt, I decided to motor gently, using minimal fuel but keeping us going very slowly in the right direction. (Alternative was sitting around with the sail flapping in the swell - or taking the sail down!)
Priority job was to re-attach the third mainsail batten end-fitting to the mast track car it had come adrift from when a tiny rusty ring had fallen off some time back, enabling the pin holding the two parts together to move up. Took quite a time before I figured out how to persuade the two parts to get close enough to begin to think of replacing the pin through them. Fortunately, I was able to attach a string to the batten end fitting to pull it towards the mast and that helped a lot after partly releasing reefs and halyard to give some slack. Tying myself to the mast was essential with the swell running, even though it's nothing like as big as it has been - the occasional bigger wave came by and suddenly we would roll around a lot!
Next job was to deal with the staysail pole - screws holding both end fittings in place kept working loose & threatening to come out completely. Every screw was removed, or nearly so, from both end fittings and the threads had Loctite carefully applied before screwing them back in tightly. I then wrapped plenty of amalgamating tape around the pole and screw heads - ending up with insulating tape over the top, to be doubly sure!!
Next, I had to re-make the bowline on the staysail sheet where it had chafed badly in the pole jaw again, and the damaged end had to be cut away (luckily the line is well over-long..)
As the sun was setting, I managed to replace a missing stanchion base fairlead for the genoa furling line - it wasn't too easy, fixing the nuts and bolts that had gone missing from the stanchion base on the toe rail without dropping them or my precious tools into the water below, so I might leave other two (less important) missing ones until landfall in Tasmania.
Beautiful sunset and lovely sunny afternoon - it had been quite pleasant sitting on deck working! Just a bit rolly still. I went running for my camera thinking we were about to have a spectacular sunset in calm seas - unusual for the Southern Ocean - but a cloud bank on the horizon spoiled the sunset - no chance of a green flash tonight! But Venus and Jupiter were quite close together amd shining brightly as the moon rose in the E.
Wind has been variable at 4-5 kt so we were still motoring very gently, hoping the wind would come up enough to let us cut the engine..... Have just put out some genoa to help - wind is now from N (was from S earlier) and up to 9 knots, so will post this while engine is charging batteries - and then we'll sail in peace and quiet!
DMG to noon GMT today: 104 n.ml.