South Atlantic - Days 17/18

Phil May and Andrea Twigg
Tue 29 Jan 2013 02:30
11:45S 024:10W  1133 miles covered
The weather continues to be sunny and calm with winds of 8 to 10 knots, so we are just cruising along behind the Parasailor at around 5 knots speed over ground.  Thank goodness we have over half a knot of current to add to our speed.  The Parasailor is excellent at handling these conditions, maintaining shape even down to 5 or 6 knots of wind, although it droops and dances at those levels.
The clunking of the rudder is more pronounced.  The continual impacts have stressed the junction of the rudder arm to the autopilot and it is starting to wobble, which is giving the loose rudder even more freedom to flop around.  On close inspection it looks like there has been a repair in this area in the past.  If that part gets any worse then the autohelm will not be able to maintain our direction and we will have to stop using it, which will not go down too well with the crew.  We could possibly remove the arm and try to repair the junction while manual steering using just the port rudder, but I don’t want to stop the boat to work on it when it is not entirely broken.  Hopefully it will hold out for two more days, at which point we can switch to having the wind from the port quarter and then we can trim the sails for a continual sideways pressure on the rudder, which should alleviate the impacts.  
We definitely need to repair the problem in Salvador.  Herve has very kindly agreed that Margaret can bring some replacement rudder bearings when she flies out on Thursday.  Catana shipped the replacement bearings to her in France today by express mail.  I just hope they arrive in time, otherwise plan B is to ship some more bearings out to Brazil, but that means more hassle with customs, if not a complete halt while they close down for Carnaval.
On a more positive note, yesterday we celebrated the half way point with cake and cocktails.  Here is Daniel with his cake.