Trades and Chores

Day 33

Noon Position: 24 54S  125 51W
Course/Speed: SE 6
Wind: E to ENE 10-14
Sail: Full working sail
Bar: 1025
Sea: E 3 and diminishing
Sky: Clear
Cabin Temp: 84
Water Temp: 75

Miles last 24-hours: 136
Miles since departure: 4332

Timeless. All day we’ve reached into light but unvarying trades. The sails, full, no thought of a reef; crisp-white and starch-still against eternal emptiness. The sea’s undulations, relaxed, each hour bringing less swell so that Mo slid along close hauled as if crossing a lake. The stern cobalt and obsidian blues, faded, the water taking on pastels from the sky where a Skua comes calling and infant cumulus form and evaporate and the wind blows ever the same. I have not touched line or tiller since sunup.

Which is good, because it’s been a busy make-and-mend day.

At some point after midnight, Lt. Wattsy (Watt and Sea Hydrogenerator) busted a seam. Wattsy is fussy. Good family, private schools, speaks five languages. Highly productive but a little too clever. Can’t quite be relied on. Tends to just let go.

I came into the pilot house in the wee hours for my usual check-in to find we were making no amps. Suspecting the problem I poked head over the transom, and there was Wattsy bouncing along on top of the water all crazy-eyed. The lanyard holding the downhaul low friction ring had parted. Again.

The first parting happened in the second week of this cruise. The factory lanyard, made of a small, uncovered, Dyneema-type line, had been spliced into a loop and the splice had slipped free. I made a new lanyard from slightly larger line and closed the loop with knots whose bitter ends were whipped down. This time the lanyard had lasted for nearly 100 charging hours before chaffing through where it passes through the generator body.

I had already tried replacing the lanyard with shackles, but didn’t have the right size. I thought of making a wire rope lanyard, but I don’t have wire rope aboard. Lacking other ideas, I reached out to Bruce Schwabb at through my friend David R Kelton. He replied quickly, confirming this is a common problem without a bullet-proof bodger. He steered me toward lashing the ring directly to the generator. Which I have done. Looks good. Works well, today. But I’m dubious of the long haul.

In the afternoon I finished commissioning the Jordan Series Drogue. The lashings that will hold the bridle to the boat are made; chain weight is attached; and the line flaked down and ready to deploy.

We passed Ducie Island at 2pm, sixty miles to port. My inner Jack Aubrey and inner Stephen Maturin had tussled a couple days ago regarding making a close approach. Normally Maturin would win, and we’d sail miles out of our way…just to see. But I want none of that now; I’m all Jack. No distractions from the coming challenge. Keep pressing…down and to the left.

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