Tuesday, October 25, 2011

From the Captain...

I'd hoped to be in NZ and able to call you and sing the b day song but 'fraid not.

This is the most challenging passage yet - and I just got bitten by the mechanical system again - two or three times at once.  First I screwed up when I left Tonga - should have paid the extra immigration cost and killed another two weeks, or gone to Fiji - but I didn't want to do that passage given I was sick and tired of passages and there are a lot of uncharted hazards along that route.  You "should be" OK if you stay north of such and such....  

Anyway, I'm here.

Next error, called the weather wrong and when I hit a change where the wind was all over the place for an hour, I chose simply to heave to and sleep - and a while later realized things had settled.  Should have gone up and set sail to west, didn't.  Drifted north 20 m while I slept.  Had I sailed, I probaly wouldn't have nothred 20 miles and would have gained westing that I needed.

Then 3 fronts  came through, a couple of days with the worst squalls ever - 40 to 50 k winds.  And with things settled out, I was beating due south.  Second error - kept going south in the nice sailing conditons figuring the wind would shift and I'd get west.  NOT.  Things calmed down, so decided to motor into the wind.

Engine fine, belts slipping badly.  Tightened.  Another nasty noise developed.

Decided to sail, granted north west so I'd actually be sailing away from port, but getting the west I had to have.  No options.  Got sailing and turned motor off - except it wouldn't.  OK, shut off the fuel supply.  Shut EVERY valve off and the sucker kept going.

Getting desperate.

Got to the point of cracking the lines to the injectors to introduce air, but just before that recalled the discussion with Peter at Eureka and recalled that an alternative to the solenoid (which is probably frozen in the run positition) there's a mechanical lever at the end of the rack.

Found it - it worked. 

Anyway, I was looking at 120 nm of motoring, now I'm looking at 160 mi of sailing.  Let's hope the wind holds without getting nasty high - there's another system coming through and I hope to be in somewhere calm by then.  We'll see, it'll be close.

Have a great day.  BTW - I'm on the other side of the date line - it's your bday here now.

Love Dad
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At 21/10/2011 4:59 AM (utc) our position was 32°25.14'S 176°46.76'E