Fw: ARC Europe Leg 2 - Bermuda to Azores - 3

Wed 2 Jun 2010 23:11
The last day was quite tough on us. The whole day there were heavy showers, very strong winds
and high waves 
At about 6pm the whole Raymarine navigation system failed including the autopilot. I immediately
took over the steering wheel, called Alois to come and replace me and then I was troubleshooting
the system. It was only showing the speed, the depth and the wind direction. I started navigating with
the paper chart of the Azores Islands using the hand GPS. the visiblility was very poor due to another
shower so we could not see the big lighthouse.
At some point the electric winch for the mainsheet activated by itself and culd not be switched off.
Elisabeth was close and she immediatelly took the rope off the winch and prevented some major break
of the rigging.
We finally crossed the finish line at 4:25 and went on anchor in the harbour bay. Marina was full and the
at customs pier there were 2 rafts of 4 boats. We went to bed at 6.00 when we made some order on the
deck.  At 8 we were thrown out of the beds by the harbour master to move the boat outside the harbour
which we did in a yet another shower.  Crew then went back to their beds. At 10 the ARC office called us
with the good news that they arranged a space in the marina. So we immedeatelly went in and parked as
the second boat in the raft on the outer wall. there are 2 boats attached to GIN'S.
In the afternoon I did the customs clearing and immigration and made excellent pancakes for the dinner -
we were connected to the shore power.The crew then surprised me with the idea to leave next day. since
we very faster over the ocean than anticipated, they could move their flight one week ahead. They left on 
Tuesday at noon. They were very nice and useful companions.
Since my crew for the voyage to England only arrives on the 10th of June, I would have to sail alone 75 nm
to Terceira and then another 110 nm to Ponta Delgado on San Miguel, where the Leg 3 will start on .June 12
at noon. I had a surprise visit from Jelka and Piet, whom I met 18 moths ago   in Rodney Bay (St. Lucia).
They told me they bought a house here on Faial and sold their boat last week. I invited them to join me on
the way to Ponta Delgada and they gladly accepted it. They will come on board on Saturday evening.
Today I finally got the service people on GIN'S whom I ordered on arrival to remove the failures. The Raymarine
navigation system in the meantime started working and failing again- a difficult intermittent error, most likely
caused by the wet conditions. The engineer did the cleaning of the contacts, replaced one cable. The sytem is
working since then for 10  hours now without interruption.
The defect with the winch switch I eliminated by removing the switch from the circuit, so until I get a new one, we
shall apply the winch handle. I ordered it at HR parts and Vickie Vance promised to send it tomorrow to Marc in
Belgium to bring it here.She is extremely cooperative, committed and fast  in her actions. I do not know how I would
have sailed in the Caribbean without her support.
The third problem seems to be much more serious. The alternator belt started sliding with a terrible noise and very
reduced current output. Part of the holding assembly is broken and need to be welded. However, it cannot be taken
out without  lifting the motor for 10 cm. which is big job. Tonight  I have asked HR how to proceed.
Tomorrow is a national holiday here and I may go for a day trip to the neighbour island Pico by ferry. If the weather
will be sunny. Service people today said that since November they only had 9 sunny days. the highest mountain of
Portugal is on this island.