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Days6&7Thurs/Fri 15/16th Oct 09 Enjoying lovely Tradewind sailing! (...until pro

It's early afternoon Friday and we're making excellent progress in good NNE-NE 4-5 winds - up to 19 knots. The wind got up yesterday soon after midnight and I had to put a reef in the mains'l but soon after lunch, with the wind down to 13kn, I shook it out - only to have to leap out of my bunk just before dawn today to put it back in with the wind up to 17-20 knots again! I'm trying to head more S than SSW so that when headed by winds, as I expect to be in the next few days at some point, I can go west a touch without that taking me too far off my preferred route S.

By all accounts, I can expect this good wind to continue for a day or so, diminishing from later tomorrow if not sooner, and then on Sunday and overnight things might not be quite so pleasant - the wind is likely to veer into the SE and a tropical wave is expected to come through - likely with the odd squall and wind all over the place!

By Monday, I could well be getting close to the Doldrums (ITCZ) - and running well and truly out of wind for several days... The only sure thing is that no matter in which direction I sail over the next 2-3 days, whether S, SW or W, it looks as though I can't avoid going through an area of little or no wind next week ...for at least two days, probably more.... time will tell!

The good news from yesterday is that there is no longer any problem with the second watermaker pump - not sure how it got fixed, since all I did was to check the connections inside a switch and check the wiring below the aft bunk. Did moving wires around fix it? Somehow I can't believe so! Anyway - it's fine and all connections are looking good, so that's one item off the job/worry list!

The not-so-good news is that the occasional drop of oil is still leaking from the rod-kicker - that is definitely something to worry about and keep an eye on - nothing to be done here and now, since the gas strut needs replacing, I hear. If all the small amount of oil in the seal disappears, the gas will escape meaning it will no longer support the boom and I'll be relying on my topping lift when reefing - at least I have one (some people with a rod-kicker don't bother - I was actually asked if I really wanted one...). It's been way too useful an item not to have and if nothing else, it's a spare halyard.

Just went to look again and take a photo of the oil drops on deck. While there, I looked at the first reef point - it's chafing again.... The line down from the shackle on the sail is being pushed out by the sail fabric and it's rubbing on an edge by the goose neck where it enters the boom to run to the aft end... With single-line reefing, I can't afford that end to break ... that's going to be difficult to sort out - I can't keep on cutting line away by the shackle - I'll soon run out of line.... LATER: Well, I've just cut & fixed a piece of clear tubing around it where it's rubbing, having released the reef a tiny bit - but that won't stay there for long, I'm sure... And I'd have to do that every time the first reef goes in... and take it away before shaking out the reef - not very practical.... Any suggestions??

With that, I think I'll close.... I'm not feeling a 'happy bunny' right now.....

LATER: Just to add to my woes... went to turn on watermaker when running generator because batteries too low to send this report ... NO water came out... flicked switches... nada!... upped aft bunk..checked seacock and pipes - all looked fine... realized pumps were running when switched on.. turned off and de-pressurised system, turned on - nada... re-pressurized - YES!....WATER finally.... Phew!!! Not a good evening - but at least that problem ended happily... Was there air in the system...? If so, is there a leak...??

'Distance Made Good' (noon-to-noon positions):
Thursday 15 Oct: 138 M ; Friday 16 Oct: 142 M 150 M ENE of Cape Verde Islands

Air: 29C Sea: 32C!! 70% humidity Quite cloudy.

Written by : Mike

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