bye, bye wind-vane

Gudrun V
Axel Busch
Fri 11 Feb 2011 12:26
Day 7, Friday, 11.02.2011, 12:00 UTC, 19:53.7N 26:19.0W, 24°C, 1018 mBar
I'm sailing west along the 20th latitude north, which is pretty much the southern route to the Caribbean. The wind is still blowing between 25kn and 30kn from the north-east, and now the famous atlantic swell is starting to build. Long and rather high waves, some reach already over my head when I stand in the cockpit. But the sea is still very rough with many samller waves in between, and those little buggers make life pretty uncomfortable when they brake, as they spray deck full of water and toss the boat around. The dolphins seem to love it though and it looks like they have a hell of a time jumping out of the crests and darting beneath the bow of Gudrun V.
Despite looking out for the wind-vane very carefully it stopped working yesterday. The stainless steel hinge that holds the servo rudder is bent out of shape, presumably by a wave, and I cannot fasten the servo-rudder anymore. I quickly switched to the auto-pilot and then took the servo-rudder out of the water and dismanteld the vane. Then I had a chocolate bar. And then another. And another :-). Now it's done to me and the tiller pilot, and we take turns on the rudder. Fortunately I have a spare tiller pilot with me, in case one gets seasick, as they are known to do. I have a plan on how to fix the wind-vane with what I have on board, but for that I need much calmer weather and seas, because it involves drilling holes in the stainless steel hinge, which I can't take off from the back of the boat. Unfortunately no easy weather is supposed to come my way anytime soon. Ah well, nobody said it would be easy, right :-).
There is also good news. The back-ache, which has visited me on Wednesday after some over-enthusiastic work at the main-sail halyard, is gone. The treatment as subscribed by the ships's medic (my humble self) had consisted of Diclofenac-Colextyramin (2x 150mg per day), a neopren bandage around the waist, the proper use of the halyard-winch, and a modest dose of excellent Rioja (2x 100ml per day).
Otherwise I'm surprisingly busy on the boat. The first week is almost over, and I'm not even halfway through the book which I thought would last me a few days at the most. When not working the sails or maintaining or fixing things I'm mostly sleeping. Or cooking, but not very much really. I'm more tired than hungry. I usually start the day with fruit and bread, then yesterday's dinner for lunch around two, and a hot dinner (vegetables + noodles, rice, couscous etc.) around seven. Later some more fruit and maybe bread with smoked ham and parmesan. Glass of wine if the weather is nice. Not a bad diet I guess. I have lots of chocolate and cookies on the boat, but except for special moments (e.g. when the wind-vane brakes) they remain surprisingly untouched.
My brother informed me that not all SPOT messenges with my position arrive. Especially the one I send every morning at 6 UTC seems not to find it's way to the satellite.