FROM 1-6. Below 50S

Feb 22, 2005 - 0018hrs UTC

0018hrs 22 Feb 2005 UTC 47’08”S 120’05”W Map Ref 75 4266nm

Yesterday was not a good day, all things considered. We worked most of the day on the generator trying to eliminate possible causes of the failure. First, of course, the need to unpack the starboard q’berth to get at the control boxes and the rear of the connector socket. we opened the socket, disconnected the leads and rejoined them directly, inside the hull and streamed the turbine – no change – disappointment. So we brought it in again, took the generator below and opened the backplate where the internal connections to the rectifiers live. Some moisture evident plus one uninsulated soldered join close to where the plate would lie (seemed as if the shrinkwrap insulation had failed and there was bare wire). Dried it out, gave it a shot of Inox, did our best to reinsulate the join, put it all back together with lots of silicone sealant and tried again. No joy, big disappointment. And the casing is still live too, so it probably wasn’t a short in the rectifier box. Dunno. Knackered by the end of the day and had to repack q’berth all over. Planned a workaround using diesel and minimum power, as well as putting the manufacturers in touch with various people who might be able to help get a new one to us in Port Stanley.

Then had the best ever G & T followed by a couple of cans if irish stew and a can of veg just heated in the pot. Perfect, but v restless night.

Unclench those cheeks Mal – all will be ok – the conditions are at normal nasty Bass Strait level but with bigger waves, which we expect to get much bigger as we go south along with the wind. Uncomfortable – extremely – but more a huge test of stamina than strength for the mo. Would be nice to have a 24 hour period without at least 3 cold wet sail changes. Something to look forward to with controlled fervour. I’m surprised by the speed at which the systems go through – I was expecting more constancy. Naive, perhaps. We are tracking straight for the Horn but I expect that will change tomorrow and there is potentially 40+ from the N the next day as the low to the west gets to us.

Meantime, what am I going to do for the next 17 days? I need this laptop toy to keep my apology for a mind in gear (really too bouncy and stressful to get back to crossword) and I’m trying out various combos of laptop and instruments to see what they draw (everyone should have a Xantrex battery monitor!). I am now sure we can keep this nonsense on the churn if in somewhat limited form. The show will go on, so keep watching this space, all youse all.

Question for John Witchard – what is the most efficient way to run the engine with no load except the alternator? We’ve been charging the battery in about an hour at idle revs – can we do better at more revs? And how do we achieve minimum burn rate and what is it? Hope you are on line with us.

For George Durrant – the casing is definitely still live when turbine running. Output at 6 kts about half an amp. If you are able to send new unit, we don’t need the gimbal ring or the acetal shaft to towline connector. Thanks for your help so far.

For Devoncroo – it’ll take a few years for the gin to get from your plughole to here – better drink it and the whales will get the residue after processing, as usual. Will do appropriate MiD on 2/3 if all this still works by then – have a good party and pass on my love.

H, E, & K, G’day. Hope you’re all ok. Thinking of you. oxooxx

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