Noon Position: 45 36S 72 47E (Just past Kerguelen Island)
Course/Speed: E7; Wind: SW 25;
Sea: SW 6 – 8, steep and breaking;
Cabin Temp: 51;
Sea Temp 48. Miles last 24 hours: 161;
Longitude Miles Made Good: 148;
Total Miles: 13,722
Two days ago I disassembled the AA battery charger, washed it in fresh water and let it dry in the sun. I had no hope whatever of success because the power plug and most of the backside of the “motherboard” showed signs of corrosion. Then again, one can’t get lucky without trying. This morning I reassembled the unit and plugged it in. Lights! I plugged in a battery, and three hours later, it had absorbed significant charge. This is a big success for me, as I demonstrated to myself in spades last night.
At 2am I decided the main needed a reef. We were carrying nearly 30 knots on the starboard quarter and were beginning to fish-tail. I rose, dressed and went manfully to the mast; released the sheet, grabbed the luff and pulled. And nothing. The main was stuck. I had gone to the mast without a flashlight on purpose. Eventually, I’ll run out of batteries, I reasoned. Best to practice now. I looked up to see the problem and saw stars but no main. I had to grab a light. The issue was that I’d dropped the main as if we were on the wind. Dropping when off the wind requires much more care or the sail can foul a step or hang up on the lazy jack lines. On this fine evening, I ‘d coaxed it to do both! It took an hour of easing Mo into the wind and upping and downing the sail to free the two hangups. And NONE of that would have possible without a flashlight. So, one success—tentatively repaired battery charger; one failure—mindlessly handling the main.
In the afternoon I removed all the tools from the starboard tool bay. Like the battery charger, water had flooded the bags, which, being canvas, held the water in good faith these last days while I did other jobs. Each bag came out; got emptied, dried as best could, and each tool got a good wipe and a blast of Fluid Film. This is a new product to me, a last minute gift from a guy named Brian, who attended my going away party. “Here,” he said, handing me a can of Fluid Film, “You’ll use this on everything.” The best way I can think to describe it is as liquified, carbonated lanolin in a spray can. And I do use it on many things, such as tools. And now it’s mostly gone. But the tools are saved from premature rust and the battery box, with its three cups of sea water, is now dry. Small steps forward. A good day.
Winds have been consistent and moderate, and today we had sun to boot. Our easting has been good and may be so for at least a week. But what is sobering is the Indian Ocean swell. In 25 knots of wind we get 6, 8 and sometimes 10 foot seas that are nearly vertical and breaking. Smaller cousins to what we had in the blow last week and ample incentive to keep a move on.