Wed 28Oct09 Bigger seas... a 'bumpy' ride again...

Wed 28 Oct 2009

Yesterday was a definite 'high'! Really good sailing in relatively smooth seas and a really enjoyable day! There were two unbelievable events - the first being crossing the Equator only just short of midday - the timing was amazing! The second was going to turn on some music to celebrate the crossing ... and finding, purely by chance, that I was listening to 'Brazil!' (by Pink Martini) - a great samba (I danced to it, of course!) and incredibly appropriate, since Brazil was the nearest mainland shore (not counting Fernando de Noronha) - roughly 500 miles away ...

By comparison, this morning the wind was up quite a bit and the seas with it so, & since we're still headed upwind, they were crashing into the boat fairly often - not too badly, but I had to be careful to be secure all the time... I had to go forward into the bow to deal with the bow-roller anchor pin which had come loose again, so needed to be repositioned and tightened to stop the anchor moving about.... Definitely top of the list of my least-favourite jobs just now... guarantees a head-to-toe dousing in seawater every few minutes... More lashing of the anchor shank turned out not to be needed. Can't see how to fix that pin in place any better, unfortunately .. can't 'mouse' it since no hole in the pin to use for that... a difficult one!

The watermaker has stopped making water - it was OK when I first switched on, but only on just the one pump, but now it's stopped producing water completely - on either pump. Both pumps are actually working, but the Clark pump isn't working, so no seawater is going through the membrane. (We've plenty of water in the two tanks, so it's not a worry for the moment.) Also I'm still trying to sort out, and waiting for answers to queries on, my first reef line chafe problem...

The good news is that we're continuing to be able to head roughly due south because the wind has stayed ESE. It would be nice to edge a bit further east... but that depends completely on the wind backing more into the east than at present. We're close-hauled as much as possible while maintaining a fair speed, and I put the second reef in the mains'l this morning. (Apparent wind was around 22 knots, with true wind of ESE5, 16-17kn) I also unfurled the staysail and furled in a lot of the genoa - I need to 'play' with the staysail more to get to know it...! Later in the day, I unfurled the genoa - but with still quite large seas, I decided to leave the reefs in overnight - we're making a boatspeed of 5.5-6 knots with the foul current reduced to around half a knot - not exactly fast, but acceptable for overnight...

DMG to noon today: 138M (Still that foul current over last 24 hrs, reducing speed by up to a knot)

At noon, we were 475 M off the Brazilian coast and 280 M off the lovely Brazilian island of Fernando de Noronha - which I stopped off at to refuel last year as I made my way north from Cape Town, Namibia and St Helena, on my way to Trinidad. Memories... It was on that last leg that I was forced to hand steer solidly for the last 10 days, when my electronic autopilot and (Windpilot) windsteering both failed. With the ever-present swell trying to knock the boat off-course, I had to be at the wheel to make our course, or heave-to if I wanted to eat, sleep, etc... 7-8 hrs 'on-duty' and 4-5 hrs 'off' continuously for 10 days... Chaguaramus Customs Dock was a very welcome sight to tie up to late one night and I had a really good sleep! (See my 'blogs' for that period - end of March-beginning April '08) I still have vivid memories of being over-canvassed one night in a Force 7 squall and struggling to cope with the resulting big seas that quickly built up...!!

Written by : Mike

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