Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Saturday 30th June

At Sea
5 21.722 S
111 26.403 W (at Midnight)

At 06.30 hrs I was on watch and had to call Gerry up on to deck as the whisker pole holding the jib out suddenly came off of the jib sheet and banged down on to the deck, the end attached to the ring on the mast was still in place. Gerry came out but decided to leave the pole where it was for the time being; it had wedged itself between a winch handle and the mast and wasn’t going anywhere. We furled the jib away and discussed why the pole had come off – it was the second time this had happened. We think that the constant flapping of the jib somehow caused the parrot beak to open and slide off the sheet; it was a nuisance whatever caused it to happen. As we were now both up we had breakfast, threw the fishing line in the water and started the water maker; I kept watch over the water maker and Gerry kept watch over George’s performance in the cockpit. Both of had our work cut out for us; the water maker looses pressure when we surf and roll and I constantly had to adjust the pressure valve to keep the system working. George (the auto pilot) has 2 speed settings which are automatic; high speed is anything over 5 knots and low is anything under. The problem is that when the setting changes from high to low, ie: when our speed dips to 4.9 knots or less, the auto pilot fails and tries to round up into wind. As such with varying wind speeds we have to keep a very close eye on the thing to make sure that we don’t end up going back the way we have come from. Around 09.30hrs I’d had enough of playing with the water maker controls, shut the thing down and went out to the cockpit. Gerry went below to check out the water maker problem and he’d been gone less than 5 minutes when the fish alarm went off, sure enough there was a Mahi Mahi flapping on the end of the line. I reeled it in whilst Gerry supervised George. It wasn’t huge, just big enough for dinner that night for the 2 of us. After I had cleaned it Gerry went for a shower and then came back on deck saying he was going to try and pole the jib back out to help steady us as we were rolling badly at the time. Harness on he went out on deck, unlocked the pole and yelled for me to release the jib a little; he tried to grab the jib a couple of times but the wind gusted so hard that he almost got knocked over and in the end he gave up trying and told me to furl the jib back up which I did with great relief. Back in the cockpit we discussed options to try and steady us up, I suggested that we try pulling out a pocket handkerchief size bit of the jib and winching it down hard to give the effect of a staysail; we did this and it worked very well. The wind was now coming from almost directly behind us and we were roaring along at 6 – 7 knots, this continued for the rest of the day. We both tried to grab a bit more sleep during the afternoon as we were suffering from sleep deprivation. Gerry ran the water maker in the afternoon and had the same problems I had experienced in the morning – too much rolling causing the pressure to vary. The 17.00hrs radio schedule revealed that all of us were having similar weather, Timella had tacked and was heading north to try and make up some ground, Y Not was keeping pace with us but about 128 miles behind us and JJ Moon was gaining ground on both of us. After a dinner of delicious baked fresh fish, we began the watches. The night turned out to be quite good with constant wind speed and direction and reduced swell making it more comfortable than the day had been.



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