Every day is Christmas Day on Irene III.. 24:37.24N 41:50.70 W

The Return of Irene III - 2018
Louis Goor
Mon 11 Dec 2017 20:56
Monday 11 December 2017 - Day 9 at Sea

Do you remember this?

It's Christmas Day and your children have just opened their presents from
Santa Claus. This year's main gifts for the boys are related to Lego. The
theme is Under Sea World - with Lego cargo vessels, speed boats, submarines,
scuba divers and incredible sea monsters - created from thousands of
individual pieces all waiting to be assembled.

After weeks of hectic parental preparation, a crescendo of childish
anticipation and excitement - a karmic calm descends on the house as little
plastic bags are carefully opened and instruction manuals are referred to
intently. As the pages are turned one by one - a magnificent lego creation
takes shape and the happiness experienced is palpable.

That's what every morning on Irene III feels like for Skipper Louis and his
able attendant John HH as they run through their daily system checks that
ensure that our lovely vessel continues to perform to her optimum

While the rest of the crew undertake their mundane chores; John E washes the
breakfast dishes and cleans the galley, Sabine baby wipes the decks, Sean
polishes the stainless steel brightwork and Johnny Frey preps for the lunch
and dinner ahead - our onboard facilities and engineering management team
run through their exhaustive list of tests and checks.

Let it be known that Irene III has more systems than most of you could shake
a stick at!

Just imagine what you would need to run a hotel on the high seas - we have
an onboard system to service that need.
There are separate Black and Grey water systems - for loos, showers and
cooking. The first uses sea water (easily available from a local source)
while the other systems require fresh water which is manufactured onboard
using a sophisticated reverse osmosis process. This is then warmed (at the
skipper's discretion) in an 80 litre horizonal water vessel, for the very
occasional showers referred to in a previous blog.

Onboard we have two fridges, one for food, the second for chilling drinks.
There's also a freezer where all the pre-cooked meals are stored. The
fridges are served by compressors located in the keel which provides the
necessary temperature differential to keep them running.

An onboard hydraulic system operates furlers for both the main and genoa
sails as well as the primary and main sail winches. There are no "gorillas"
required to grind winches to keep this lady gliding through the waves.

There are three separate, yet interconnected electrical systems providing
12V, 24V and 220V power supply. These are powered variously by the engine
(if motoring) or by a stand-alone generator when sailing. There's a
switching system behind the chart table that looks like it came from Apollo
11. By turning switches in pre-ordained sequences, its possible to control
the TV, microwave, dishwasher and saloon/cockpit disco-dancefloor system -
which is synchronised with the navigational lights.

Space does not allow me to mention all the usual sailing stuff; halyards,
sheets, preventers, jack stays, sails, the auto-helm system - all of which
receive daily integrity checks from Louis and John HH. And then there's the
many devices we rely on; satellite phone, Automatic Identification System,
Global Positioning System, VHF radios, EPIRB and safety equipment that's
regularly tested.

While the housekeeping crew do their daily cabin changeovers, Louis & John
HH lift floor panels, poke and prod different important looking boxes,
disappear into the engine room with amp and volt meters and tool boxes - and
for them it's just like Christmas morning - every day. Irene III is their
plaything - a big boys' toy of incredible complexity providing them with
endless challenges and joy.

At 4.30pm today we had sailed 1,396 nautical miles - and this was officially
declared the mid-way point of our voyage. Swim suits were donned and the sea
water fire hose was deployed for a LaLaLand style groupie shower on the aft

After everyone was hosed down with fresh water, Skipper Louis uncorked a
delightfully chilled bottle of Moet & Chandon Imperial Champagne to
celebrate this key waypoint. We have now commenced what Navigator Sean
describes (with a straight face) as a wide south-westerly arc to our
destination. He says there's no turning back now - Antigua here we come.