5,000 miles

Digiboat's "Product Testing"
Simon Blundell
Sat 26 Oct 2013 06:37
25:17.03S 021:32.41W

0145z 26/10

After a couple of perfect days of reaching in 12kn breeze and clear
skies we've finally arrived at the centre of the S Atlantic wind
circulation. Normally this is an "eye" a few hundred miles across but at
this later stage of the season it's extended into a ridge of calm wind
from SE to NW. So motoring through the night and hoping to cross the
ridge and get back into the breeze which'll come up from the S and we
can reach across into Cape Town. If all goes to plan, tomorrow will be
broad reaching with the spinnakers up.

The sunny days and warmer weather and smoother seas have been much
appreciated, although the continuing teething issues have been eating
into our general comfort and leisure time. We've been under severe water
rationing for a few days after the watermaker threw its breaker with a
fairly significant explosion followed by a puff of smoke. The fresh
water pump was turned off so the remaining fresh water in the tanks
couldn't be used and Robbo set up the salt water hose into the galley
and sea water bottles scattered around the yacht for showering and
toilet flushing etc. And allocated each crew their 1.5 ltrs of fresh
water per day for personal use (teeth and rinse off after shower etc).
Even though the sea water is many degrees warmer than the fresh tank
water, Julie was still wondering how to have a hot water shower. I think
this has been her biggest gripe for the trip as there was a presumption
that a superyacht would always have hot water. (The hot water heater
only turns on when the genset is running - so basically we turn diesel,
which is in carefully controlled consumption, into hot water. On a long
delivery, use of diesel is rarely allocated for personal comfort - such
as hot water or air-conditioning!)
Anyway it all meant that I spent the day in the lazarette (or "Simon's
Hole" as it's become known) stripping down the water maker as I
suspected the high pressure pump was most likely the problem. After
checking it and all other electrical components independently of the W/M
the problem was found to be the main 240V supply to the water maker
which was run through the bulkhead down in the lowest part of the bilge.
Impossible to access and confirm, but it must have chaffed through the
insulation and is shorting in the bilge water. Another day in my hole
finding an alternate power source then rebuilding the watermaker and
last night's testing was successfully executed while I had a long, hot,
fresh water shower (Captain's privilege! But problem is that I now know
had bad everyone smells). If we get a good watermaker session tomorrow
I'll extend this luxury to the rest of the crew so they can all smell as
good as me.
I could also justify a proper shower because I also had a few hours
engine rooming and cleaning fuel filters and scrubbing the remaining
fuel. The morning engine room check showed a distressing amount of dirty
fuel and gunk in the filters - the fuel would have been very close to
engine disabling condition, with a chance that I'd be unable to clear
such bad fuel from the engine system and we'd be sailing right to the
dock in Cape Town. Several hours of circulating it through the scrubbing
system and changing filters and it's quite clean now engine's should
work as designed.

Our apprentice ship builder cabin boy let loose on his own to work on
Mark II of the aft cockpit table. Although it requires less string now
to hold it in place, I'm sure he could've done a better job if the usual
spectator gallery was heavily critiquing him as he worked. We passed the
5,000 mile mark today (rum-less as there seem to have already been too
many milestones this passage that've used up the rum stash). Ryan has
been talking about the cockpit table since Burriana and it's only just
functioning (and certainly not photo-worthy). He claims that within the
next 2,000 miles it'll be finished off - presentable, functioning (and
photo worthy). The spectators are not convinced.

Fishing remains a waste of time. We actually had tuna from a tin in last
night's meal - Jed's (in)famous tuna pasta. In fact, since entering the
Southern Atlantic, we've still not seen a dolphin or whale, almost no
sea birds, an occasional flying fish (rather than the schools we saw in
the N - or is that a flock of flying fish when they all take off
together?), and caught no fish. The only life we've seen here has been
the one shark trailing us a few days back. This part of the ocean seems
to be broken.