Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Doldrums still clutching Mhadei

The doldrums made their presence felt again with a squall last night and then very light winds through the day. I had let down my guard and kept the full mainsail up at night with the Wind Vane steering the boat. Got up past midnight for a routine check and found a squall almost on top of us! Hectic activity of reefing the main and getting the Wind Vane off  followed and we just about made it through! Need to remember that we are still very much in the ITCZ (Inter Tropical Convergence Zone) commonly known as doldrums. Another day or two and we should be out hitting the trade winds. Light and shifty winds through the day which died out completely by afternoon. The sea was also fairly calm so made use of the opportunity to change the two broken battens from the Main sail. That involved getting the entire sail down, climbing about 3 mtrs up the mast a number of times to remove the pieces of broken battens, and finally sitting on the boom and mainsail to insert the replacements. I think my horse riding skills, unused since passing out of the Academy 21 yrs back, came in handy in trying to sit on the boom of the rolling boat and working with both hands. But that was a task that required to be done before getting into the stronger trade winds. The broken pieces have already damaged the sail a bit and in sustained strong winds the damage could only increase. The battery monitor, an instrument that tells me the amount of battery capacity I have and when I need to charge them seems to have gone off finally. It had become erratic since
yesterday so thought of removing its connections and cleaning them. But having done so its just refusing to revive itself! Now I don't have any idea how much battery I am left with or when I charge whether they are actually charging. I think I will just run the generator every 12 hrs to ensure that they never run out of charge. May increase the diesel consumption marginally but with an efficient generator that should not be a cause for concern. Started the Watermaker for the first time during the trip as one of the tanks had become half empty. Not bad for 13 days of sailing! Another round of spectacular sunset in the evening with an already bright moon to the East. Looks like another sleepless night ahead as the wind keeps dying out every now and then. When it dies out you need to get on the deck and tighten the main sheet to stop the boom from thrashing around and when the wind picks up you need to rush and ease the mainsheet as otherwise the boat starts healing too much! Its also been a warm and clear day so a lot of moisture must have gone up which will eventually come down as a squall during the night and knowing our penchant for getting under every squall in the area we better keep our guard up!
                                                                                          

16 comments:

pracs said...

Hey tough man, for those who had some reservations in their mind about "y u were chosen for this task" may get their answers straightly now,you are a perfect manager, good luck boss! i have given link of this blog to many of my friends , i guess widely this blog should be reached out, cas this is not just blog but a first hand experience for all of us to learn from ur experiences.

ahmaq said...

Good going sir,
Life seems to be in 'doldrums' but I am sure victory shall be yours your blogs continue to be an exciting reading. Keep writing the experience.
Cdr DS Pathania

pallavi said...

Hey Dilip

The way u narrate your experiences, I feel I am reading a mystery novel.What say!!

claytonia vices said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
claytonia vices said...

Am really enjoying reading your posts from this inspiring voyage. Hope you have a nice journey and looking forward to more posts!

P.S. If you would divide your post into paragraphs it could further improve readability :)

Amitabha Ghosh said...

Sir,
Am following your blog as a daily ritual now ....
Exciting and interesting read..

Regards,
Amitabh

SUBIR said...

Hi,
Am following daily even when you are not in the doldrums.Take care and make speed.I see that you are averaging 150 nm a day. Good going.
May the trade winds guide you on.
Regards.

shahinsebastian said...

May the force be with you! Just read "Life of Pi", everything keeps going back to the sea. You are on to something great, and the country follows you and prays for your safe return home. God Bless!

Jaydeep said...

The Sun looks so far off from near equator ...

tell tale said...

Congrats on the batten change!hope you had lifeline strapped on all the while.

the change of battens is some serious good news.

DSP said...

Folks at home can't believe that there is somebody I know who has embarked on such a mission. You are no less than Sir Edmund Hillary and Tonsingh for them! Meee tooo! Keep it up Pal ! You are an inspiration to people back here who have all the so called good things in life and still are not happy!!

prabirgoswami said...

Hallo Dilip, great to see you moving on and away and keep doing all that you have to do with simple efficiency and a sense of humour. Meeting every situation with equanimity. Hope you get into the trade winds as per your expectations. I expect that would improve the Mhadei's sailing speed. A land lubber, I am following your trail with fascination and continue to wish you all the very best - stay calm, healthy and succeed.

EBS said...

DilipBhaiya, this is fantastic! Hope you doing well. Our prayers & best wishes with you always!
Cheers
Chris

chatty said...

ok tiger, good they taught us horseriding in the academy...always wondered what practical use it would have in our lives ..now I know. How far you intend going on this tack before getting the trades. news this side - Anindya turned 9 yesterday, the entire gang converged and cheered you on ... any videos yet. you can put yhem on this site dedicated to you..www.youtube.com/user/chatterjeea330

Surinder said...

I am reading your blogs and congratulate you on your voyage so far.Look at the horizon...much lies beyond it but you cannot discover the oceans till you lose site of the sure.Good luck in the trade winds.
Cmde SK Mongia

Ajit said...

You seem to be having a Whale of a time !!