Day 18: STT -> Azores - When things starts to break

Blue Note
Marco M.
Wed 15 May 2013 14:17
Date: Wednesday May 15 2013 - Time: 12:00 Blue Note Time - 10:00 EDT - 14:00 UTC
Position 35:19.27N 37:23.314W
COG 10T SOG 4.2kt, Wind 83T 17 kt, Barometer 1022.0 stable
Temperatures: Air 18.8C, Sea 12.0C
Last 24h Sailed Distance: 113 NM
Last 24h Decrease Distance on rhumb line: 50 NM
Sailed distance since departure: 2140NM
Time since departure: 18d 1h 00m
Average Speed since departure: 4.94 kt
Average VMG since departure: 4.10 kt
Average VMG last 24 hours: 2.07 kt
Intention: sail to Ponte Delgada
Distance to End on rhumb line: 584 NM
ETA: Thursday May 23, 2013
Diesel consumption:
- 48 gallon left
- 58% diesel burned with 70% of passage done, ratio = 1.30
- 103 hours left motoring
- 410 range left on motoring
- Ratio of Distance_to_End/Range_on_Engine = 1.42

As Jeff Lewis would say: "This is the time of the passage when things starts to break".

1) Yesterday I noticed that one of the tubular radar reflector mounted on the upper spreader had broken its upper attachment.
After several hours of been hanging by only the lower attachment it flew away.

2) After so many days of close hauled course the stitches of the jib on the leech starts to open up and there is no way to continue using it.
This is the original 1998 jib and I had it re-stitched in June of 2011 and probably I should have done the same before this trip.
We could try to bring it down and do a repair, but it's out of the question while the wind is blowing at 20 kt true wind.
So, we are now down to only the staysail as a fore sail.

3) Because of Lisa strong elbow and her poor balance the wood panel on the port side of the steps down to the cabin now has a couple of deep dents.

On the good side, yesterday for lunch I cooked another 1/4 of our tuna. Cooking a tuna is very difficult and in the past I always ended over cooking it making it very dry. This time it come to a near perfection. Crusty on the outside and still raw pink in the inside. Of course served with rice.
Everyone was impressed with how delicious it tasted. Unfortunately because of the close hauled course and the 20 kts of wind we had to skip the Pinot Grigio.

After lunch we also took advantage of the thing we have the most at the moment (thanks to the solar panel and wind generator): electric power. So we entertained our self watching a couple of NCIS episodes.

Another major event of yesterday late afternoon was that the AIS showed a 16 meters sail boat "Remedio Santo" sailing a 282T course.
Again we were surprised to come across another sail boat and even more surprised of his course.
I called the boat on VHF and learned that they had left Horta and are looking for a life raft of a boat that 17 days ago had set his EPIRB.
The captain explained that the boat got caught by the big storm that was in this area 3 weeks ago (see photo of the grib file for that period).
The boat in distress set the EPIRB and a couple of search planes (I suppose from the Azores) were set out but there were very low clouds, a Navy ship was also sent to search but also could find no boat or life raft. After a couple of days the EPIRB went dead.
The captain explained that friends of the boat crew in France calculated based on current and wind where the life raft could now be and Remedio Santo was sailing to that location. I did not enquired about the missing boat name, nationality or number of people on board since I felt to be irrelevant and an unappropriated question at this time. We promised to keep a sharp look out.

Pretty disturbing event that remind us to be glad to have set a departure date at the end of April and not to be too upset for the past days of calm or for the wind from the "wrong" direction, or for the possible missed flights. A remind also to add to the grab-bag the SPOT with spares batteries. It would be interesting also to find out what battery the EPIRB uses and to bring a spare in the grab-bag.


Grib file of April 25, showing 40 kts wind and 30 ft waves right at our current location.
The two big blue dots are Horta (to the west) and Ponte Delgada
Red dots are our estimated position for the next days at noon.
Yellow dots our position at noon for the past days.

JPEG image