17 – Wednesday, 20 December 2006
feel like the Count of Monte Cristo scratching the days on the wall in his
prison to keep track, except I have a computer and I am not actually in prison,
but as I can t get out it feels very similar.
had renewed my enthusiasm to deal with the water maker. Despite the 18-20 knot winds and the big
swell I managed to recirculate the cleaning solution for 45 minutes, then I had
to reconnect hoses and flush the system with warm water. You have to have a water supply to have
a water maker because it needs lots of fresh not salt water for the cleaning
process. I was very pleased and not
too much more bruised when the job was finished. The water maker was representative of
something more that dated back to the beginning of the year and it was a
psychological barrier that hopefully has been dealt with for now.
now have to run the water maker at least every 3 days to keep the membrane from
drying out. The manufacturers have
agreed that if I do that then I do not need to biocide it now, which is good,
because I couldn t understand that point.
I will still have to answer the rest of the e-mail later, when I can
measure things and give sensible answers.
I think it a little unfair that with me trying to use my poor remaining
brain cells to their best effect I get an e-mail with words like cavitate in it
– I think this is relating to air locks, but I will deal with that
will run the watermaker later today.
It is a good job I have one because someone, (who will remain nameless,
but we know who you are,) has used up most of the tanked water supply on
cleaning something or other.
was quite a nice day after having dealt with the water maker. It was reasonably good wind, it was
reasonably sunny and I was able to finish my book without being thrown too many
times onto the cockpit floor. If I
remember to hang one arm over my tether line I can hang on at most angles. I did not cry as much today, I am either
feeling better, or just getting hard-hearted.
was still concerned about the batteries, they are just not holding up to the
job, but was I expecting too much of them.
Perhaps the water maker was taking out more than the engine was putting
in and I also tried to do everything else that needed power at the same time,
although I did throttle back on that one.
will have to find out are the batteries topped up more if you (a) just idle the
engine or (b) actually run the boat while using the autopilot. Answers on a postcard to
6pm the wind had dropped to 15 knots and continued to slide down to over the
course of the next 12 hours. The
weather was supposed to be 12-15 overnight and be 15 or 15 to 20 knots until
Sunday. The other boats too were
appreciating the wind strength, but not the uncomfortable swell and Herb said
basically well tough. The swell is
not that bad most of the time if you are not actually trying to do
9pm, just before dark I sighted a yacht, usually these sightings are just
a wave crest in the distance, but this was definitely a yacht. I was a few miles behind me, I did try
to hail them once on the radio, but no reply. I never usually have my radio on out
here, but I thought it might be nice to speak to someone after 17 days. They may have switched on as they got
nearer, but due to the battery problem I had switched off. I just wondered if I might have known
them. They were taking a wider
angle than me and overtook.
am sticking to my track, maybe next time I will wander off further and go at 120
angle, which may be quicker; but for now I want it known that if anyone wants me
then they know where to look. My
bearing is 261 True from my noon position and I will be right there. I note that despite that
information being available throughout the trip the helicopter with the relief
crew did not come to airlift me off.
I would have thought about 3 days out would have been fine and then drop
me back on about where I am now.
Film stars don t really do their own stunts, they have stand ins -
Remember that for next time.
was so excited about sighting my first yacht, I totally missed the freighter
coming the other way. I did not
notice until it was dark and all I saw were the two lights going away. So now I have seen 1 yacht and 1
freighter in daylight and 1 set of lights for each. Other than a couple of seabirds and lots
of flying fish I haven t seen anything else, no dolphins or turtles or
am getting ready for changing to the proper time zone; it is still dark here at
9:30 in the morning. The wind had
dropped to 11 knots, that is usually a reasonable speed, but the boat seems to
have lost its momentum. I decided
it would be a good time to bring DG out of the water and put the rope back
on. I tied a big noose round the
stem and slipped it down to the head and wrapped it round the end of the
boathook and pulled it up. Everything looked ok, there was nothing caught round
the propeller. Perhaps it was the
batteries, they are only a year old, but I am quite happy to replace a battery
or two if that will solve my problem.
I was tying the rope through the hole, without a shackle, and noticed the
pole connecting the head to the shaft was missing; now that would explain the
fact that no electricity was being generated. Where was the pole, surely I would have
noticed days ago. The attachment
for the head to the pole was still there and the pole was inside the shaft. When the head was in the water the pole
must have been down by gravity, but not attached and when I pulled the shaft up
then the pole slid back in. I would
like to fix it, but I have to stand on the top of the rail just to reach the
head and only do that when changing from wind to water head on a pontoon or at
anchor, I really don t think this is the time or place to try
I am happy that I have hopefully sorted the problem with the batteries, but not
happy that DG is damaged. He has
done remarkably well in the unremitting swell against him for the last 2500 nm
from the Canaries, I will put it down to wear and tear and hope it will be easy
to fix when I arrive. For now
it will have to be the engine, which is all I used to have. The wind is continuing to drop down to
7-9 knots so it is not a bad idea just to motor for a bit.
miles yesterday, with about 340 to go.
Arrival now seems a possibility, whereas for the days after the half way
point it just seemed to be out of reach.
Hopefully I will find it easier to send this today than yesterday,
because it is not raining and also it is very hard to send an e-mail when trying
to use a VHF radio. This is
explained by the fact that the radio and the sat phone are very similar objects,
both are black bricks with an aerial, and I was tired and not in the best of
moods as I recall.