Where Next?
Bob Williams
Mon 17 Jan 2011 18:10

Noon Position: 17 22.7 S 109 30.9 W
Course: 280 Speed: 6 Knots
Wind: East sou’ east F3-4 Gentle to Moderate breeze
Weather: Overcast, warm
Day’s Run: 140 miles

Yesterday I made a new rotator for the Walker log, and it worked a treat. But not to skip any details, first I found a scrap of teak which I split a couple of pieces from with a knife and hammer, then with the knife I whittled one of them into a nice streamlined tear drop shape, then sanded it smooth. Next I made up three fins out of a thin piece of aluminium I had squirreled away for some unknown reason, cut out with my little Dremel while sitting in the sunshine in the cockpit. This was a bit tricky trying to cut along a precise line while Sylph rolled around a fair bit but it was soon done. Then I realised I did not know which way the rotator needed to rotate so I got the dial out, connected a hand drill to it with a piece of cord and spun it for a while to work out which way was forward. This done I then cut some slots with the appropriate slant in the teak body and drilled a hole through its longitudinal centre. I couldn’t find the original line that went between the rotator and the dial so had to make a new one of those as well with some cord and some light flexible stainless steel wire rope. Then I glued the fins on with epoxy, inserted the wire through the longitudinal hole, pegged and glued it in place so it wouldn’t slip out then allowed the whole lot to dry. A few hours later the glue was dry enough to give it a spin. I initially trailed it attached it to a swivel on the end of a fishing line and I was delighted, it worked perfectly. Next I mounted the dial gauge on the stern and streamed the rotator. I found the gauge was sticking a bit because it had not been used for so long so I brought the whole lot in again, pulled the gauge apart, lubricated it, put it back together and tried again. Perfect! Now all I had to do was calibrate it. I reset the GPS trip meter and the log to zero and let them go. After 1.5 miles by GPS the log was reading 1.7 miles. No problem, just a matter of fiddling with the fins a bit, in this case straighten them a little and I figured after a few goes at this I would get the error down to an acceptable margin. So I pulled the impellor back in, straightened the fins and then streamed it again. I carefully let go the last bit of line because the line is attached to the dial on a hook but despite my care, or perhaps because of it, the line jumped off and I watched incredulously as my proud workmanship disappeared astern. But … it floated! I thought I will hit the man overboard button on the GPS and go back and recover it, but then I turned forward, looked at the rig with the genoa poled out with a fore and after guy set up taught and the mainsail boom bowsed down tight with a preventer and realized by the time I managed to turn around we would be at least a couple of miles downwind and the chance of finding it would be rather low. Bother! In fact, I mean really, BOTHER!

Oh well, that’s life, nothing is permanent, but I wish some things would just last a little longer then they have been lately. Old Navy saying, life’s a bitch and then you die. OMMMM!

All is well .