Day 52

Noon Position: 55 04S  85 03W

Course/Speed: ESE 6

Wind: W 19 – 40 (!)

Sail: Working jib, half rolled up. Wind on port quarter.

Bar: 978

Sea: W 15

Sky: Clear, then squalls, then clear

Cabin Temp: 54 (if sunny) 49 (if not)

Water Temp: 42

Miles last 24-hours: 157

Miles since departure: 7047

Miles to Cape Horn: 547

Hodge podge of a day on all fronts.

Wind has been mostly W and WNW, allowing me to follow a rhumb line course for the Horn. But consistency of direction has been all there is by way of consistency. In fact, one rule in my brief time below 50S is that wind velocity changes constantly, and I don’t mean from day to day or even morning to afternoon, but intra-hour. My notes in the log in the wind column today: 0600 Wind W 20 – 35; 1200 W 19 – 40; 1400 W 20 – 30. Later I just started noting the max, WNW to 35; WNW to 28. Winds have been in the teens for an hour. A moment ago, 30.

Attempted some trouble shooting of Otto based on help from Dustin Fox of Fox Marine, but so far Otto is no Lazarus.

Did some fine tuning on Monte’s water paddle while underway, and I think he’s steering better now than ever. He’s got the clue that he’s it and it’s instilled a certain pride. Not a single gybe all afternoon, even in light wind astern and some very lumpy swell.

Attempted trouble shooting on the now defunct Lavac head. The problem, in a nut, is that the pump is pushing into the bowl instead of pulling from it–emphatically wrong. Strongly suggests a plug in the line I’ve yet to discover. Thus, it seems I may be at the “bucket and chuck it” method for some time. The early morning walk with the bucket from the lowest, most secure place in the boat to the rail is a very careful one.

Two nights of very good sleep. And same pattern. To my bunk by 10pm. Up once an hour for a while and then when the night looks not to contain any surprises, sleep for three and more. End sleep cycle before 6am. It has begun to get cold–49 degrees in the cabin as I type–and I’ve stuffed the light sleeping bag into the heavy one and lay them over me quilt-style. Very snug.

I haven’t figured out the hours yet, but there’s very little actual dark down here. This means that by 3am, I need to cover my eyes to stay asleep. And even at midnight there’s enough light to see the white headed petrels flying nearby.

The Big Blow

Other results…

-The Windex wind vane at the top of the mast is gone.

-The wires from the port solar panel ripped out. How is beyond me as the panel has been lashed down for a week and I can find nothing to have snagged them.

-During the blow, I noticed that the straps holding the life raft in place had worked loose and the raft case was in danger of being (very) prematurely launched. Now doubly lashed.

-The aft bilge (under the cockpit) took 26 strokes of the pump to clear. When I opened the lid, there was water on the gear in the locker, so it was the locker lids that leaked when the cockpit went underwater. The lids were latched and locked shut and have (old) rubber gaskets, but I’ve never considered them as designed for full submersion. So, in my book, 26 strokes isn’t much. The anchor locker had less than a gallon to drain and the main bilge in the boat took no water.

-I have found that even sealed dorades (sealed with a screwed down stainless plate) leak when the boat takes breaking seas. I’m guessing the water squirts in through the small drain holes in the dorade box. Fixed by stuffing a rag into the vent in the boat.

Random thoughts:

-One reason for not deploying the drogue was that I didn’t want to get stuck on it (the forecast called for days of high winds). The other was that I wasn’t sure I could deploy it cleanly. Rigging the bridle with 50 knots of wind over the deck without fouling it on Monte or Wattsy or the life raft or…it just seemed simpler to raise an already set-up storm jib and get going.

-Thanks to HOOD Sailmakers for building such a strong storm jib. It took an absolute beating and even now looks as crisp as it did when first pulled from the bag. Part of the reason for its abuse was that I made the mistake of trying to sail to a course during the height of things. Specifically, I tried to carry the wind just aft of the beam. Monte really couldn’t (recall, bent tube) and so the boat would round up, and the sail would dump and beat until Monte could bring Mo’s head back down. A wave would knock us around, we’d round. Rinse, repeat. When I finally figured out I should run with the wind deep on the quarter, things got quieter immediately. I had oodles of sea room, so attempting to hold a course was greedy.

-Same for my knockdown. I was attempting to carry wind and breaking seas too close to the beam and it was a wave that caught us dead on the flank that sent us over. I’d had plenty of warning. We’d been hit hard several times. I just didn’t know how to read the signs. Do now.

10 Comments on “Aftermath

  1. Great to hear all the detail and it sounds like a baptism of fire. Stay safe and hope you sort out the brain but hats off to Monty for his sterling work! Andy, Sussex, UK

  2. Glad to hear you are a-ok and nothing except the lavac is giving too much of a problem. Our lavac sometimes pushes water the wrong way but with lid closed it eventually pushes the water out. What happens if you close the intake valve and leave the lid open and pump? Does the water get flushed out?

  3. Wonderful adventure. So exciting to vicariously participate. Thanks for the blog and God’s speed to you.

  4. Learning from error; exactly what is needed for your success. Well done on all fronts.

  5. Randall
    After 25 years of using a Lavac, we replaced it last year. You may already know this, but the single acting Henderson pump has two rubber check valves which need periodic replacement. One of those valves is specifically designed to prevent the pump from admitting water on the “backstroke.” If you have the spares aboard and can tackle disassembly, the valves to be replaced (or cleaned if you do not have replacements) are located in the big round plastic cover, the part with the removable round port which is used as an express blockage removal port. One valve is a weighted flapper, and the other is a three sided joker. If my memory is accurate, the flapper is supposed to prevent the back flow you are experiencing, while the joker is designed to prevent seepage back from the elevated loop. The SEAT of the flapper often becomes encrusted with salts, and if scraped clean will allow proper seating. I hope this is useful!
    Wishing you a safe and Merry Christmas,

  6. An amazing tale told in real time! Heed your lessons learned, be safe through the celebration of light, of which you get bonus time!

  7. Ghansk for sharing. Following u is turning out to be an important part for my preparation for the Longueroute 2018. Be careful and sail safe / Anders

  8. Good catch on the raft lashings! Your regular inspections are paying off! Great job!

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