Rick, Helen, Sue, John
Mon 25 Apr 2011 22:03
Hello from 14:33.71N 65:21.61W.  We've had a bit of a day of it today.  R found a loose wire in the centre heads and thus resolved the mystery of the domestic water pressure.) Not a complete triumph in my opinion as they're now sluicing it around as if we were a Roman bath.)  Then the bloody engine quit.  (As we're beating into wind 'sans genoa' we're a little underpowered - and there's a bit of a sea running - so to get to anywhere we need to be we have to run the clunker.)  Sounded like fuel (again) and this time from the newly turned-on starboard tank.  Anyway, usual drill:  make sure we're sailing OK, switch on the twin wind gennys, let the engine (and me) cool down for two hours.  Put on my 'engineer's uniform' - a pair of shorts and a t-shirt that will certainly be handed to the council when we get back, open the engine hatch, throw towels over the sharp/hot bits and lie over the Shrek gently swearing (me not Shrek).  This time it turned out to be the fuel feed line - some gunge in it - but only found that out after taking off the filter (bloody job).  Got it all back together (self now lightly dressed in diesel), bled the thing fired up and screech!  The happy sound of the fan belt saying, 'if you don't re-tension me this instant I'm going to turn into a short, useless, snake.  Cut Shrek and once more to the breach.  Having your head about two feet below the rest of you and fiddling about in a hot humid space while rolling around in a fairly jolly Caribbean swell does nothing for the appetite.  And so it was.  Didn't have a pudding at lunch. 
In the meantime the auto-pilot couldn't see why it shouldn't join in the fun and started to make over-stressed noises (this was whilst I was administering to the Shrek and thus we were proceeding under canvas).  So we hand-steered, took a reef in the main which reduced our general progress to not very much/bugger all really which, when you're still 240 miles from the nearest landfall, can be a touch depressing. 
Anyway got the Shrek going (with fanbelt adjusted) and the racket from the engine now hides  the whining from George (the auto-pilot).
I suppose we're now heading towards St Martin (just to the right and slightly below the Virgins).  In this blasted easterly we need to get above Antigua before tacking back. So gawd knows what our arrival date will be but we'll all be glad to finish this.  Its a tough passage, this one!
More soon,
Love,  The Crew