Thu 16 Mar 2023 18:18
We are well underway, had an absolutely screaming start when we finally managed to leave the harbour. As ever Moonshiner has thrown in a few curve balls
Wednesday we were all up and early ready to go, water tanks topped up, final messages sent. A few friends came down to let go our ropes, after a few jokes about being black on the pontoon in 10 minutes we were exactly that! Katie turned on the autohelm to help get the sails up which was treated with a flurry of alarms. ’No rudder response’ My quick look at the unit revealed nothing obvious so back we went. I had been doing folding bike Jenga getting them stowed and wondered if I’d pulled a wire or the like in the process, dismantling the unit with Joao revealed a very black, burnt out electromagnetic clutch. Luckily MAYS had one on the shelf and an hr later we were reinstalling it. However an initial test revealed the same problem and on further investigation a wire was indeed free on the helm computer. Joao thought it could have been him when removing the drive unit but i suspect it was the initial problem. Still, the electromagnet did look awful so glad we’ve replaced it.
It was a difficult call as to leave or not, a significant w/NW was forecast left over from another huge storm that assed th Azores on Monday night. The seas were going to be significant but the direction was good and if we missed this opportunity there were more S’lys on the way. True to our experience so far there was more wind than forecast and the seas were indeed still huge! Katie very wisely suggested we start with the 3rd reef and sit the stay sail, this proved perfect and we were soon buzzing along in 32ish knots. This was meant to have been gust speed but was very much sustained. Moonshiner was coping admirably and we decided were we happy and to continue. The next rain cloud produced a very sustained 40+ knots for a good 10 minutes. I took over the helm and Moonshiner proved to be very comfortable in this. At times the seas took on a more ominous tone but generally we were flying. 10 knots, 12 knots than 13 knots! We’ve just managed 180 miles in the first 24 hours, today has been utterly glorious, we shook out 2 of the reefs (leaving us with 1) and the Yankee and have been barrelling along all day in blazing sunshine, loads of dolphins and a generally kind following sea. Still the odd v big roll which makes things interesting in the galley but we’re all well fed with the exception of Ona who is horribly sea sick. I had a miserable end of the 12-4 watch with a vomit but seem to have sorted myself out. Sitting at the cart table tapping this will be a test!
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