Thurs/Fri 29/30thOct09 Problems continue - with a vengeance..!

Day20

Finally able to edge E of due south with the wind just S of east.. would be nice to make a bit more easting but need the wind to back even more for that to happen.

It's a good thing we aren't a lot further south just now - the St Helena High is spreading right across the S. Atlantic and looks set to stay there for several days - I'm hoping that doesn't happen again when I get down there in a week's time.

The wind has been varying a lot in strength - I'd left the 2nd reef in overnight - but it really could have been shaken out a lot sooner than 9am when I finally decided we were not making enough speed - we promptly increased speed from around 5 knots to 5.6kn, despite that ever-present foul current of over half a knot..

Spent most of the day dealing (or trying to!) with problems...

The bow-roller anchor pin is persistently coming loose and having to be replaced and tightened.. I'm waiting for rather calmer conditions to make a decent lashing around the head of the anchor, adding to the lashing presently in place around the shank -a good thing that's there!

Looking forward to the first reef line breaking at the luff where it's presently chafing, I've run a line from the same luff cringle down through a block at the base of the mast to lead back to a jammer near the cockpit that's presently being used by the mainsail outhaul. (Fortunately, I had a good spare length of the right kind of line available) I shall take the outhaul back to the mast since there's a jammer for it at the boom forward end. (I insisted on that jammer being provided, when I was queried, along with 3 boom jammers for the reefing leech lines, in case I ever needed to revert to traditional slab reefing.. a good thing, as it turns out! Fortunately, I was keen to provide 'back-ups' wherever possible, when the boat was in build...)

The third problem I tried to overcome showed itself when I tried to run the watermaker.. no water, as yesterday, despite both pumps running. As I played around with the pump switches and the pressure control, trying to clear a possible air block, I heard sudden loud 'hiss' - and saw water spurting from a hose - it had split ... closed the seacock quickly....! I tried to mend the hose with amalgamating ('pressure') tape - spent an hour-and-a-half at least, playing around with that... all to no avail. It was fine, after several attempts, when NOT under pressure, but as soon as pressure came on - it gave way again.... So Friday's job is to see if any of my spare water hose is the right size and length... If I'm lucky, my next job is to replace the entire section - but I know I'm short on plumbing parts....

Friday... Day 21 - almost 3 weeks at sea!

Good wind, especially in afternoon, although rather variable during the night and morning so speed (& DMG) suffered, increased seas later, mainly sunny, although with plenty of clouds around much of the day...

Had to go and fix the anchor pin - how I hate going forward to do that! I have to really force myself... It's not just feeling exposed and continually getting doused in the waves washing over.. (I wore my harness & tied myself to the pulpit so I was safe while working there) - it's partly, I think, knowing that whatever I do (with great difficulty!) won't be good enough to stop the anchor jerking about, however slightly, because of the tremendous forces on it when the bow crashes into the seas.. And if the anchor can still move, it can work itself free again and/or cause damage. It's not too bad now in the warm water and air, but won't be so good working there when it's colder... The seas have built up to about 4m now with the wind having got up a bit more since midday. The only real solution is to get the anchor off the bow and stowed down below - and that is no easy job, being a 25kg weight, such an awkward shape & because of where it is - off the bow. I could only consider moving it in really calm conditions because it's going to be such a difficult job for me to do alone.

Before that, I had to put in the 2nd mains'l reef with the increased wind - and, coincidentally, the first reef line has finally parted where it was chafing (because the wind got up?) - as I've been expecting it to. So I've now taken away the mainsail outhaul line from the jammer near the cockpit and replaced it with the spare line I had already tied onto the 1st reef luff cringle. I still haven't heard back from several people in reply to my urgent queries, sent some days back, relating to the single-line reef system on board... I'm not at all impressed by their lack of urgency or concern in replying.... It's unfortunate, perhaps, that it's school half-term week in England now so at least one person that would normally have helped me is undoubtedly away... but others don't have that excuse...

I've still yet to look at my spare water hose, in the hope that I can fix the watermaker by replacing the split section, although if it weren't mended immediately that wouldn't matter since we've plenty of tank water just now. The only real problem is the membrane deteriorating if not used regularly.

Time to have a nice big mug of tea.... and some biscuits, I think...!!

DMG to Thursday noon: 122M .... and to Friday noon: 120M (420M from the nearest Brazilian coast)

Written by : Mike

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