FROM 1-5. Mid Pacific to Heading South

Feb 13, 2005 - 0339hrs UTC

0339hrs 13 Feb 2005 UTC 45’36”S 140’07”W Map Ref 61 3263nm

This looks like being a trivia update. We’re sticking to the strategy and following the tops of the lows across the ocean at somewhere between 45 & 50S whichn keeps us in manageable wind strength and waves most of the time but we lose a bit of distance as we sawtooth up and down the latitudes. It’s relatively easy to do with the amount of weather data we are able to pull in from the various sources (SatcomC: free text downloads of text weather forecasts and warnings; VMC Charleville, NZ Metservice and Chilean weather faxes and Grib via sailmail) all of which complement eachother. We can also listen to Taupo Maritime Radio NZ scheduled weather broadcasts in desperation – they require a tape recorder and very fast pencil work and then some assiduous plotting but they are there as a backup. Just received a nice fax from the Armada de Chile Servicio Meteorologico showing a reasonably clear satellite image of the quarter of the southern hemisphere that includes the Chilean coast and most of the south pacific. And us. Just receiving their Carta Prognosticada – the isobaric forecast for 1200 UTC. Looks as if it is hand drawn – much nicer that the computer generated ones.

We are averaging about 120 miles/day overall – rather slow, but on that basis, all going more or less the same, wood touched and all other relevant superstitious practices observed, looks possible that we could be at the Horn around March 4. As in a marathon, from here is the hardest bit mentally. Half way in distance only; half way in the mind/body/stamina stakes in a marathon comes at about 36k (out of 42.2, for the deskbound) and the 15 or so k in between are where one just has to keep the mind firmly in neutral, or try and do what the coaches call constructive visualisation – imagine the finish line, the medal, all that jazz, stay positive and just headbang away at every metre, every k till it’s in the bag. And at 36 k, the second half starts. Downhill all the way, Don? I reckon 36k for us will come in about two weeks time. Meantime, think hot shower, cold beer, flat water, sunshine, women, Cape Horn at dawn, an apple. Tommy Melville’s ghost must be out here somewhere too – dreamed about the old bastard last night. That albatross with a ginger beard and a bandanna, perhaps? We’ll have an ale with him at the Horn.

We have the storm trisail up for the first time since we modified it in Hobart by adding a long strop from the head to about a metre below the masthead complete with slides, so that the length of exposed halyard and therefore its capacity to flog is minimised. Seems to work, but important not to get the strop twisted as it goes into the track. The sail is just up to balance the boat a bit and add a bit of low down power. Three reefs is just a bit too much. And the tri doesn’t need a preventer to stop it banging around in the troughs like the main. The #4 is up too and we’re getting 6.5 in the right direction without too much discomfort or stress on the boat. Thanks for the suggestion, James – the storm jib is so small that I dont think it would help much – Berri is just rolling off the sides of irregularly spaced big waves and cross seas so gravity rather than wind induced and even a full main doesn’t do much to dampen even if we could carry it.

Lunch was fresh bread and a tin of oysters in olive oil – this little bit of triv only because it lets me tell you that the left over oil in the tin was poured down the loo and pumped through to lubricate the pump cylinder and the piston. Works a treat, as does sardine tin oil, tuna, or just s spoonful of cooking oil.

From Malcom C.

hi A, Al & SS together, think corrosion, even with marine stainless.  If turbine rotation speed high think mild cavitation to collapse paint bubbles especially with entrained air. MC

Duct tape on turbine? Do you have self vulcanising rubber tape?  Oceanographers saviour.  Get some at Stanley.

Malcom, thanks for the suggestions re turbine – we’d considered corrosion and electrolysis, an idea supported by the discovery today that 4 bolts securing the backplate of the casing of the alternator are live. They ought not be. Perhaps there’s a current flowing down the towline, although the shaft doesn’t seem to be zappy. And vulcanising tape to fortify the towline is a great idea, as long as we can get it to work on a wet line. We’ve got lots. Led me to consider electrical shrinkwrap as an alternative. Got lots of that too. Watch this space – turbine extraction scheduled for tomorrow.

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