Friday, November 20, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Good following breeze and seas today translating into good progress. The winds are expected to start heading and easing from tomorrow which will slow us down so trying to make as much progress as possible while they last. Spent the better part of the day making list of work to be done during the stopover. Unlike Fremantle, the planned stop is for two weeks so will need to get the work done quickly. The sun came up nicely in the afternoon and it was nice to just sit out and watch the birds putting up magnificent displays of their flying skills. Another 300 Nm to go but with a forecast for light and head winds difficult to figure out if we will be able to cover the distance in two days and one night or will require two days & two nights.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Made use of yesterday's calm weather to open up the broken steering assembly and put it back. While it will require work in the harbour presently it seems to be holding with an adhoc arrangement of securing with a bolt and some good rope. Also managed to have the first hot meal in the last few days with a menu of Sarson ka Saag, steaming hot rice and generous quantities of homemade Mango pickle! It is getting increasingly cold by the day. There were reports of sightings of Icebergs about 200 Nm South while we were going through the Gale. Usually I would be very curious to see an Iceberg but on a pitch dark night with the boat screaming downwind I would rather stay as far away as possible.
Giving two photos of the different moods of the Southern Ocean taken in a span of less than 24 hrs. We were becalmed in glassy seas and then in less than 24 hrs struggling with 9 mtr swell and 50 kts winds!
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Monday, November 9, 2009
One of my bilge pump seems to have gone "Whacky" and I mean literally. Realized it was not working in the morning so checked all electrical connections, strainer and everything that could be checked without any luck when finally gave it two good whacks out of sheer frustration, rather than any technical competence, and it came to life! So till the next port the starting procedure includes, in addition to putting the switch on, opening the floor boards and whacking the pump while muttering a silent prayer! Having been somewhat lucky with the bilge pump, the confident electrician decided to tackle the fresh water pump next which had stopped working soon after Freo. Found a blown fuze that needed replacement, but then Murphy started acting and every fuze except the required 15 Amp one could be found. Confidently used a 30 Amp one as a substitute, started the pump and saw a wisp of black smoke rising near the pump! The supply to the pump was promptly switched off and the electrician sacked even faster! So no watermaker, which isn't a problem really as I have enough for more than a month, but the worse, no hot water baths! Which in this cold effectively means no baths till New Zealand! Looks like the Indian Defence Attache who has promised to be at Lyttleton before me will be able to sniff me out before I get alongside!
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Another calm day of sailing. Less than 20 kts of following breeze and a following sea making the boat move sedately, sometimes so much that one forgets that she is moving at all! Very glad that the preventer is working otherwise I would have been at my wit's end trying to stop the boom from thrashing about in these conditions!
Friday, November 6, 2009
A sedate day, some quick cook Rissoto for dinner followed by a movie on the laptop. A far cry from being hosted by Pip & John last Friday to a dinner of gourmet Pizzas at a fancy place in Perth followed by a nice drive through the King's Park Botanical garden!
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Saw a Ship's AIS icon on my chart plotter after lunch at about 3 Nm. Couldn't sight him visually and realized that I was yet to fix the VHF MMB set that had stopped functioning the day after leaving Freo. If the Ship wanted to call me or warn me there was no way he could, so got down to figuring out the loose wire that was the culprit. Not so easy on a jumping boat and with my terrible skills as an electrician! First managed to shut off the Chart plotter by pulling some wire, cause for real concern! Then managed to create enough sparking to panic and switch the mains off only to switch off the auto pilot with them! Ran out to get the boat under control, got the auto pilot going and spent the better part of the day sorting out the connections. Thankfully everything came on line by evening. Just another day on board!
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
As I write this we are crossing the longitude of Cape Leuwin thus effectively rounding the first of the three "Great Capes" that make for a Circumnavigation. The next will be Cape Horn followed by the Cape of Good Hope. It has been a fairly uneventful day with a decent breeze that has been backing from ENE to NNE making us sail in the direction we want to go at a healthy pace. The wind has been picking up for the last couple of hrs and is expected to back further which will allow us to gradually starting reaching and picking up speed without slamming around too much.
The mystery of the broken clew of the Genoa and subsequent shredding was finally solved by John Sharpie, our good host at Fremantle and an experienced sailor. He reckons that a big wave must have hit the Genoa as we were slamming through the waves making the clew part. We were, when the incident happened, sailing upwind in a fairly large sea and had waves washing over the boat. One wave too big and that was the end of the sail!
On the day I left Fremantle I met an old friend Timothy Ettridge. We had worked as part of Sir Robin Knox-Johnston's support crew during his Velux 5 Oceans race in 2006. It was quite a coincidence that he arrived at Fremantle the night before I was leaving and was there to see me off! Giving a link to his blog (here) for some photos & philosophy!
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
We ran into head seas soon after rounding Rottnest Island North of Fremantle. It was almost a beat for the next two days in winds between 20 to 25 kts. The first night the Clew of the Genoa parted making the sail flog uncontrollably. By the time I could furl it the poor thing had shredded itself! The winds finally eased today and I managed to take down the torn sail and replace it with the spare one. Luckily we bought the sails from New Zealand and the repairs can be carried out at the loft it was made. Survived on some scrumptious Bologenese sauce so thoughtfully packed by Pip Sawyer till today's breakfast . I was supposed to have it with pasta but the boat was bouncing around so much it was much easier to have it with bread instead! Tasted as good!
We seem to be sitting in a High pressure system since morning which means light and shifty winds. For once I am not complaining as otherwise it would not have been possible to change the sail. The weather forecast is predicting backing of the wind to Easterly and then NE direction which should start taking us towards New Zealand our next destination.