Time to set sail again

Phil May and Andrea Twigg
Mon 7 Jan 2013 23:26
33:05.1S 017:31.2E  65 miles travelled
After a month of relaxation in Cape Town, the departure date rushed up on us as usual  Unfortunately we were delayed because a new icemaker I had ordered from the US got held up in customs.  This is the first leg start that we have missed since setting off a year ago and we are now a couple of days behind the rest of the ARC fleet.  However, provided the wind holds up, we should get to St Helena just in time for the “bring and brai” party the yacht club is organizing.  So far it looks like the wind will be good
In retrospect it was a stupid decision to order the new icemaker over Christmas but I still did not expect that an air shipment of a simple household item would take three weeks to clear customs.  You may think we could have just shipped it on to Brazil, but the chances were slim that it would get through to us there during Carnival.  The icemaker was a little bit too expensive to just write it off as a dead loss. 
So, after spending all of Friday sitting on the boat waiting for news, I went into the airport today and sat at a desk it in the office of the shipping company just making sure they gave it their top priority.  It turns out that the problem was unrelated to our package itself, but actually that one of the shipping company’s permits expired at the end of 2012.  They did not find this out until January 3rd when they first attempted to clear the package and by then there was a a big queue of other companies needing new permits.  Also, apparently once it was entered into the customs system with one shipping agent it could not be passed over to an agent who had a valid permit.  In the end someone from head office had to go to customs in Johannesburg to get the document and then have an authorization phoned through to Cape Town to release the icemaker. I finally collected it at 3 pm on Monday and we were away by 5 pm.
The delay did mean that I had time to work on a few more repair items on the boat.  We finally have hot water in the starboard hull again and the steering console on the tender is securely fastened down once more.  
I actually spent Saturday afternoon helping Southern Cross, who were delayed because they broke both their chart plotters.  Steve was testing their chart of South America and it had a problem where it was forcing two little pins in the card reader into the same hole.  This destroyed both of their chart plotters plus all three PC-based chart readers we used to try and diagnose the problem.  Straightening the pins was not too difficult, but still the chart plotters would not work.  The short circuit must have blown something on one of the circuit boards.  They were facing a couple of weeks delay in their departure, waiting to get a new plotter.  It was touch and go whether we could find any workable solution, but in the end, with one circuit board from an old broken display off Anastasia paired with one from Steve’s broken plotters, we managed to put together a plotter that would read charts.   
The hybrid plotter works OK, but it is bigger than the old plotter so it has to sit on the chart table.  Also one of the buttons is broken so they have to drape a towel over it at night because they can’t adjust the screen brightness. But it should get them to Brazil in time for Carnival.