Day 8: Sat 12Sept09

Sat 12Sept09: Day 8 of passage to Canaries - Just like Tradewinds sailing - but wind is NW, not NE! Fluffy little white clouds in lines along the wind direction.... Gentle sailing, poled out ....

Noon (BST) position report: 39 00'N, 013 21'W; course(COG): 180T; speed (SOG): 5.6kn; wind: NW4 (10kn); barometer: 1022; air/sea temp: 24C!!; swell: N 3m 8s; cloud: 10%;

606 ml to go (DTG) to destination (equidistant between Azores and Canaries!), 200 ml due W of Lisbon. Warm, bright sunshine, ambling along....

Last night I had no problem whatsoever using Bluetooth to connect into the Pactor modem for my emailing and weather info via Airmail using my SSB radio ..... Now, when I just tried to connect - I found my computer (which ran out of battery power on standby overnight) seems to have no Bluetooth enabled and isn't 'seeing' the modem... Why not??
(One hour later!!)... Finally got it going again - after a lot of cursing and effort.... !

Yesterday's hiatus was finding the Iridium (satellite) phone had switched itself off - for no apparent reason. Later, I noticed it switching itself on again completely of its own accord as I was seated nearby writing up the log.... and then soon afterwards, I noticed it was off again... Overnight, it came on yet again and has, so far today, stayed on... "Not guilty!" I plead - I was touching nothing when all that happened!! Presume it's a faulty handset, base unit or connection - although, having checked them, all connections look absolutely fine, as is the 12V power supply so I strongly suspect a faulty unit.

The wind swung to NNW from NE soon after midnight Thursday and then died, only picking up near midday - but that gave me an ideal chance to get to know the Hydrovane windsteering gear. Really easy and straightforward, so that's now in use - at least some of the time. My wind power input to the batteries, plus some solar power, is working really well, so using the electronic/hydraulic autopilot doesn't seem to be pulling down the batteries hardly, if at all. I'm sure the use everywhere (cabin & nav lights) of LED lighting must also be helping. Overnight, the wind picked up to around 15 knots, rather than the fairly consistent 10 knots we've been having during the day both yesterday and today.

Other problems: The shackle holding down the block at the mastfoot which leads the boom downhaul aft broke into two halves - clearly a major metal defect... Fortunately I was able to replace the shackle from my spares kit, so all is now well - I'd wondered, before I found the block and broken shackle lying on the deck, how the main had suddenly become 'scandalized'!! A possibly associated problem is that the boom regularly jerks up with a bang - the vang/mast connection is a tad loose and needs an additional washer to fill the slight space allowing movement - that pin will wear quite quickly later if not dealt with when I arrive.

A lovely sight was a bright silver Venus hanging high in the East before dawn this morning - and last night, I enjoyed an excellent meal by starlight in the cockpit of the 'Chez Nereida' restaurant....

Written by : Mike

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