Friday 6th Nov09 - Aft cabin develops a leak - everything is sodden......

Friday 6th Nov 09 Everything was going too well, clearly....! Time to put me in my place....!! (Ever heard Chris Rae's song about 'God's Banana Skin'?!)

Up early to try to get weatherfax again from Cape Naval in S. Africa via laptop and SSB radio... started having major PC problems - which continued on & off most of the day, later including the Iridium connection in the problem (couldn't access my Control Panel for some time!!)..... computers!! Later in the day, got email from SAMM Net Controller Graham, ZS2ABK, telling me that Cape Naval were off-air for repairs - I'd been trying for days to get their weatherfaxes - no wonder I couldn't... so having to rely on grib files which are useful but not so reliable.

I'd finished with installing the second new watermaker hose, although I got worried when a jubilee clip ('hose clamp' in N.America!) started cross-threading as I tried to tighten it ... Fortunately, I'd come across one yesterday which was a bit large but did the job (I found none the exact right size) so all was not lost. I'd also re-made several connections, with lots of PTFE tape .. so all was set for the big test mid-morning - firstly run it un-pressurized, to get rid of all the air in the system, and then ... pressurized ... heart in mouth...! All seemed fine, except for a small leak which I thought was coming from a hose end connection (on the remaining old hose I'd had no more new to replace).

I left it running and, with still just a minor amount of dripping, was eventually able to start filling the water-tank. All seemed fine, so I went up on deck to sort out some lines there, ready to deal with my reefing problem later in the day...

When I came back, I was pleased with having run an emergency 'tack' line for the second reef (from the luff cringle to a mast winch). The second reef line is also chafing badly now at the boom entry point, just as the first reef line did before it gave way. I didn't want to lose the 2nd reef, since I still don't have a functioning first reef, and we're sailing fine, if a bit slowly, with it in - removing the boom end to deal with the reefing problem was 'on the list' as today's major job in the expected light wind...

But when I got back down below, I heard a peculiar hissing noise... the aft cabin was being sprayed forcefully with brine..... everything was sodden ... dripping wet. Disaster!! ...... I don't think I need say how I felt.... The hose I'd not been able to change had split badly.... Why are we so clever in hindsight....? Why hadn't I put pressure tape all around that hose to reinforce it, knowing it was so very suspect? Would have been worth the time spent.... Now I had to mop up as best I could, and curse the fact that, among all the other things, my pillows and thick duvet (kept nicely accessible for cold weather later) were all wet.... To cheer myself up, having as yet not even had any breakfast, I later had a nice coffee and treated myself to several choc chip biscuits, some nuts, a Penguin, a Kit Kat AND half a Snicker bar - gluttony indeed! (This evening, I'm treating myself to gammon and eggs - I need more cheering up!!)

Outside it was a beautiful day that I should have been relaxing in & enjoying... sunshine & blue sky since midday, good wind, lovely sailing in a fairly calm sea.... The Hydrovane has been doing its thing reliably and well - I've not had to adjust it for several days now. Staying on a close reach was the best course we could make, so we've just made a wriggly course, following any wind changes precisely, but mainly heading slightly E of S. I've not had to run the little diesel generator for many days - the KISS wind generator has been piling in the amps beautifully with the good wind we've had.

Later on, I ran a line, 'stolen' from elsewhere on deck, from the 2nd reef luff cringle down to a block at the mast foot & on to a jammer by the cockpit, using the route previously taken by the pole uphaul and re-running that line differently so it was still available for use. I was quite pleased with my ingenuity in keeping all the various lines available and useable - I've totally run out of spare line now...! But the outcome is that if, tomorrow, I can remove the boom aft end, retrieve the 1st & 2nd reef cars from inside, untie the reef lines from them & discard the cars - I've ended up with a slab reefing system workable from the cockpit.. IF I can remove that boom end .. this evening I couldn't budge the one screw I tried of the three... 'Law of the Lever' needed again...??

We've been sailing gently, the last two days - I've not wanted to release the 2nd reef without a 1st reef available, just in case the wind picked up suddenly ...We've been making over 5 knots anyway, with mainly full genoa and stays'l, which is fine, in the circumstances. This evening, the wind is really shifting around as we approach the centre of the St Helena High... I hope it stays down, for that reef lines job to be possible tomorrow .... The sea has lain right down with the lighter wind of today.

DMG to noon today: 119 M - remember, that's in a straight line, noon to noon.... our actual course has varied a lot with the wind shifts.

Written by : Mike

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