Day 16 - No wind and Duogen difficulty

Mon 8 Dec 2008 12:14

Well a day of rest it certainly was, and not in the way I had meant it. We have been moving from one weather system to another and this has been causing our very light winds. On Sunday we basically found ourselves in a hole (not a metrological term I think) with virtually no wind at all. And such as there was slowly worked its way around the front of the boat from the SW to the NW. Now, pointing up into a force 3-4 is just not really possible. There is not enough of it to shift the boat. So we motored for a boring 9 hours. In the evening, the wind got up to a 6-8 NNW so we were able to sail along at about 4-5 knots for a time. But even that went and on the first evening watch I saw poor Que Sera going a mere .99 kt! We put the donkey on again.


We don’t have that much fuel, just sufficient for two days motoring and up to a daily two hr charge of the battery to run the (working) watermaker and navigation equipment. We don’t always need this if the Duogen does its work but for that it really needs 5-6 knots through the water, therefore in these almost permanent light winds we have to keep that amount of fuel spare.


Today’s weather report says “Satellite measured wind indicates that there is some wind to the west if you could just get there.”  So we are going to motor across West as fast as we can!


We should break the ‘1000 miles to go’ by around 6pm this evening – a psychological milestone if ever there was one.


Just after I sent off Saturday’s blog we found ourselves running out of battery charge, which we couldn’t understand. We thought the Duogen might have packed in so we lifted it out of the water. It had a big plastic bag (someone else’s –shows the importance of hanging on to your rubbish) wrapped around the impellor, not only jamming it but giving us much drag as well. We unwound the offending article but that was not to be an end to the matter. The force had somehow closed up the gap in the rather complex geared system so that the gear/transmission housings were now stuck such that the blades would still not turn. “No matter”, I said, “I have spares” which indeed I did. The trouble was that the said spares did not come supplied with an Allen key of the right size to take the whole contraption apart and refit. My tool kit did not have one the right size either.


Avid readers of this blog (of which there seem to be many judging by the e-mails) will know that I have sung the praises of this Duogen from the beginning. It is a superb piece of kit and we would be badly off without it. Needs must – I had to find a way. In the end I took a hack saw and a Stanley knife ( 3 broken blades -2 left) and sliced out a sufficient gap between the hitherto non moving parts and, hey presto, she works again!

All we now need is a fair wind for her to charge us up, which seems a bit circular really….


Oh, and I did manage to finish “The Riddle of the Sands” and have now commenced “The Old Man and the Sea” (which is what I feel like) and, Yes, I was defeated by the 5* SuDoku and the next 5* I attempted. Meanwhile, Mike just works his way steadily through a book of ‘Fiendish’.




Jock -the auto having some R&R                              Mike, pensive about the setting of the sails               Dawn this morning, moving from one system we hope!