Irrawaddy Approach

Digiboat's "Product Testing"
Simon Blundell
Sun 19 May 2013 09:00
14:51.32N  096:43.05E
Sun 19/5 0300(LT)
Wind 10kn SW
Boat 7kn @ 340°
Great day's sailing for last 24 hrs, after the storm yesterday morning Silky settled into his watch and shook out all the reefs to sit on 8+ kn for 6 hrs, still enjoying the SW trades that are mostly manageing to get this deep into the Gulf of Martaban.
..... well, I started writing that at 3am this morning when we were nicely on time for an arrival at the Pilot Station just after lunch, then got distracted by an oncoming storm, so up to part-furl trhe jib and reef the main. The storm hit, not too strong, peak gusts just under 20kn, but then the reef line broke, so woke Silky from his poorly needed beauty sleep and he and Rog pulled down to the second reef while I managed my best to make their time on the foredeck as uncomfortable as possible.
After riding out that storm, we got hit by several more on sunset, this time with 90 deg wind shifts to the N - so head winds and barely making a couple of knots to destination. As Luke was now well awake, and no more beautiful, I tried to get another few minutes of sleep. Then the shaftbrake overheated and blew a seal which drained the gearbox oil (our shaftbrakes grab and release based on oil pressure to determine if engine is on or off). Aimee fortunately picked up the strange smell and I was bruskely woken and thrown into an oil bath in the engine room.
So engines off to cool down, light head winds so depressing fwd progress for a few hours. Removed shaftbrake, replaced alternator belts on one engine that had been wearing badly as didn't want any break downs tomorrow on the river.
It's now 3pm and instead of being at anchor sipping arrival G&T's at the Pilot Station we are still 30nm out and doing 5 kn with both engines on into a 2kn contrary current.
ETA at Pilot Station now around 8pm, which still gives hope for getting in the queue for a pilot tomorrow morning.
A flood tide will follow us up from 6am low at river mouth to 1pm high at Yangon so if all goes according to plan it'll be an easy trip up river.
No Luke, shutup, we are not there yet.
And the Jolly Roger has made a reapearance the last day or two, I think keen to step onto dry land but still will be a trip to remember!