We are now seeing flying fish for the first time so I guess the water is warmer.
Last night when we fired up the engine to charge the batteries some water started appearing in the galley causing a little consternation here and there. Stephen was trying to cook some pasta sauce at the time.
Looking at the engine and main bilges revealed more water in the main bilge than there should have been. (We have a keel stepped mast so rain trickles down the inside of the mast having entered via all the holes for rope exits and this ends up in the bilge.) Further investigations showed the sea water pump that I had had bother with on the way to the Canaries as the culprit with water coming out of both the inlet and outlet, quite enthusiastically on the outlet side. Very boring and unsettling for some. Anyway I decided we’d live with it for last night and turn off the seacock overnight and have a look in the morning so we did this and stopped the engine after about an hour and three quarters. We pumped the. bilge and then had a fine night at mostly 5-6 knots although at one point a rope did get jammed on a winch in the self tailing section necessitating a little jiggery pokery to remove.
I had a look this morning and removed the pump yet again. Stephen had been taught that ptfe tape worked better if not done in a very tidy fashion so we added tape untidily, removed the new but not working clamps which are broad and tighten with a spanner and replaced them with new, thinner jubilee clips heating the hose before hand with hot water and upon testing it all appeared fine, we’ll keep our fingers crossed. I think that the hose should be 28mm and not 30mm which is what we have so will try to get some more in St Maarten or Cuba. I wanted an old cloth to apply heat to the hose but it appears that people have been ditching them rather than saving them, probably in case I used a dirty one on the dishes….. as if!
Crossing the Atlantic in the manner we are trying to do involves getting to the Trade wind belt and then, in theory, there should be following winds to waft one across in a pleasant and unexciting manner. So far we’ve taken longer to find them than normal but think that we are now well established in them. The wind seems to vary from Just West of North to about East. We have a mainsail and Genoa (the big forward sail) and utilising these normally we can sail in the right direction with the wind from anywhere in the sector described above up to about NE, at this point the genoa stops getting wind because it is blanketed by the mainsail. So from NE we have to decide what to change, bringing the genoa out to the starboard side using the spinnaker pole works well once the wind is East of North East but there’s a sector in between which is boring because, with the rolling of the boat the sail backs and fills which causes much increased wear. Another strategy we can use is stowing the mainsail, so that it doesn’t disturb the genoa, and then having the genoa out on the leeward or port side with or without a pole to help it fill, and this is quite an easy rig to manage but then we have less power as the main is not contributing.
The asymmetric is a blue sail and designed for Reaching ie when the wind is mostly abeam ish it’s bigger and curvier than the genoa and often adds speed but can be quite a handful to stow so we’ve not been using it at night. It works well with the apparent wind from about 70 degrees to 125 degrees and good from about 10 to 20 knots of wind. When deciding a sail plan it’s helpful. to know what the wind is going to be doing later , I am getting forecasts twice a day which are generally correct but there are often windshifts within the approximate correctness of the forecast which push us out of limits for one sailplan or another. Often at night it if it is light we opt for a simple genoa only rig because it’s easy to handle and reduce if the wind picks up it’s also relatively quiet for the watch asleep, but we may not be going as fast as possible.
Anyway there is a band of strong winds coming from tomorrow afternoon and we’ll probably just use the genoa out to port for this and see how it goes. One further option is rigging the staysail on the inner forestay and putting that out to starboard or port (on opposite side to the genoa) but we’ve yet to try that and would probably have to adapt the spinnaker pole because it’s too long.
It’s a lovely day today the sun is out, the wind is blowing and the batteries are getting about 3 amps charge from the solar panels. I think I’m going to try to make bread and see how it goes. We only have two slices of industrial bread left defrosted although there are two in the freezer.
Miles today will be about 145 and 2038 ish to run.
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