OSTAR day 9
Wednesday 5th June 12.00 BST
Position – 46 09 95N 27 28 75W
Log 1107 miles (50 over last 24 hours)
Last night, the wind died away to practically nothing, less than 3kn. At 0200 this morning I was woken by the alarm for yet another wind shift. It was practically going round in circles, the sails were just flapping and the boat speed was showing 0.00kn – and in the wrong direction (I have never understood that – how can you be going in any direction if you are not moving.
Massively sleep deprived, I made the decision to just turn everything off except the wind instruments, furl away the genoa and drop the mainsail. I then just set an alarm if the wind got above 4kn and went to sleep. At 0800 I woke up – the alarm had never sounded all night. I looked at the instruments and the wind was showing 2kn S and the boat was drifting in an easterly direction (i.e. backwards) at 1.5kn with the tidal drift. However, I was hoping that it had been much the same for the other boats and not much had been given up in terms of time/distance – and I had got some much needed sleep.
At around 0900 the wind just picked up to 5.5kn, so I put all the sails up again and amazingly got the boat going again – showing 3.5-4.0kn – and making the WP. How can that be? At 4kn it won’t move at all, but at 5.5 I get it moving at 3.5kn! Strange! Now all of those of you who sail will understand the excitement when you have 20kn of wind, the boat is fully powered up and sailing fast. Well I can tell you it is even more exciting when you are stuck in the middle of the N Atlantic, with practically no wind and the boat speed is 4kn!
I went to start the engine and charge the batteries and to my surprise, having fully expected to have to ‘hot-wire’ it again, when I turned on the ignition, the lights came on. I quickly got my volt meter and checked the back of the switch – 12.4V – it is just extraordinary how this happens – one minute it is fine, the next dead! So I manufactured a new piece of wire with some spade connections, re-connected the starter motor direct to the power, but using a male/female spade, left the ‘hot-wire’ connection as well, so it is there if I need it again. The engine started first time with the key – batteries charging at 40amp – all looks to be perfect. My life as a mechanic is back on track and I am possibly now the world’s leading expert on the workings of a diesel engine, thanks to my crash correspondent course from DL via iridium phone.
I have been up the rig this morning to retrieve the wayward spinnaker halyard and pole up lines – a good job to as I am currently sailing with my ‘floater’ up and needed both lines. I also discovered whilst checking over the boat, that whilst Copper and I were replacing the ram for the auto-helm before I left, we had disconnected a cockpit drain to make the access easier – and forgotten to attach it again. This might explain why I have been getting so much water in the bilges, especially when on port in a blow, with the massive volumes of water flying in to the cockpit, some of which would have been flowing straight down the 1” pipe in to the bottom of the cockpit locker.
- Engine working
- Alternator working
- Alternator regulator working
- Batteries charging
- Sleep banked
- Boat moving in the right direction
- Given up some time to the race
- Not much wind
On the domestic front, I have cleaned up the boat and dried her out as best I can. The sun is out for the first time in a week, so I have two sets of Oillies and two pairs of boots in the cockpit drying out. I have also washed a few pairs of socks (given while the engine was running I had some hot water) and they are all drying on the guard rail – so I look a bit like a gypsy site.
Last night, in order to celebrate my passing of the 1,000 mile make yesterday, I had a can of green with my chilli-con-carne – kindly provided for me before I left by Will Gill – thanks Will, my first drink for a week was very welcome and slipped down a treat. Of course I had to run the fridge for an hour first – there is nothing worse than warm lager (well apart from No Lager I suppose)
As the sun is out and I have some hot water at the moment, I am going to have a shower in the cockpit and a shave, as I am starting to look like a beardy-weirdy. This may prove a little tricky as I don’t have a mirror on board, but I figure I can put the ipad on camera mode with the lens reversed – and that should do the trick. My job for this afternoon is to try to make a blackberry charger as the one I have has died! Not that there is much need for it out here as mobile phone masts are in short supply, so the reception is not so good – but it does have all my contact numbers and emails stored in it, should I need them – and it is the only alarm clock I have on board.
Hopefully this blog will reach you all in good time today – so I will at least keep JB happy J
Just a quick reminder – PLEASE PLEASE don’t send me emails with attachments – my download is so slow – a 1mb attachment will take about 20 mins – and the iridium phone costs over £1 per minute!!
All good aboard the Hound
C, Boris and Beagle