Senior moments - far far away 13:38 N 057:00 W

Sue & Alan
Sun 19 Jan 2014 16:13
Approaching midnight: How tired is very tired does not matter when the next senior moment happens. It just does. During my 8-12 watch tonight I dozed off for a few minutes. When I awoke and looked at the chart-plotter time, VHF radio time & SSB radio time I was convinced it was just after midnight 'our' time. Well it was 'my' time but it wasn't our 'adopted/actual' time even though we had flogged clocks earlier in the afternoon. So what time should it have been? Doesn't matter now because Ray is back in bed enjoying another couple of hours kip and I need to recognize the right time on time and not two hours early (again). Warra my gonna do tomorrow when we flog clocks for the last time (again)? I know....... a check list needs completing ....... a sort of pre-flight 'get the right time to put Ray on the shake at the right time' checklist. Maybe along the lines of:
Q1: What time should I wake Ray up? Answer = 2400 Zulu time (our adopted local time on Ticketeeboo).
Q2: What time is displayed on the nav-table chart-plotter? Write answer here [..........]
Q3: What time is displayed on VHF radio? Write answer here [..........] and is it same a Q2 above [..........]?
Q4: What time is displayed on SSB radio? Write answer here [..........] and is it = to Q3 above [..........] plus 4 hrs?
Q5: What time is displayed on the saloon clock? Write answer here [..........] and is it same a Q4 above [..........] less 4hrs?
Q6: Did we flog clocks (time displayed in Q2, Q3, Q4 but not Q5) 'back 1 hr' during previous afternoon? Delete wrong answer here [YES or NO]? If [YES] proceed and wake Ray up. If [NO] wake Ray up to get help with check list. Hmmmmmmmmmmm? Are we there yet?
Well, it has been a long day. 25 hours and will be same tomorrow and we're both looking forward to an undisturbed sleep in couple of days time.
0430: At hand-over Ray says we've been through a heavy downpour and close to others and continue to throughout at up to 8kn, even seen +9kn at times and always comfortable and almost in right direction - all good stuff! Long may this continue! There is plenty of waves and swell. We are, however, running with it maintaining good speed so we're not getting 'hit' or 'bounced' like we have been on other days. Passing waves/swell simply 'lifts' our stern and passes under us more courteously. Whilst not really 'surfing' in the true sense it does feel like we're getting some 'lift' as the additional energy passes in our direction from stern to bow. Like me Ray's watching our 'countdown' to Barbados and says "We'll be less than 200 to go by morning." This means our expected arrival remains tomorrow afternoon, Monday 20th. One more sleep to Barbados, which means just 7 more sleeps to my Lover (and Ray to his)!!!
1200: A busy morning. I will explain. As daylight was about to change the prospective we have of our incessantly moving seas it began to piss down. The SSB net took place at 0700 (in the dark) because we are 3 hours behind 1000 UT. That finished about half seven and it's still pissing down and just on 0800 Ray puts himself on the shake and says "It raining!" With nothing desperately needing doing on the wet side of our washboards we stay below in our nice comfortable saloon where we can keep watch on the horizon, as well our sails as well the ever rumbling seas, which warn us not to be complacent every now & then (usually soon as one of us goes in the galley!). Ray says apart from having to get up for a pee, like me, he's slept well.
We munches our way through one our 'That's the last of 'em' cereals, cuppa tea (forgot to have orange juice) and waited for the rain to ease then dry completely. By mid-morning 'All's well on board' and Ray says "Time to visit the cockpit". No it isn't because the sliding washboard gives out a noticeable 'bang' (not a particularly loud one) and Ray says "What's this? It's stuck!". Now, when Ticketeeboo was just couple months old we had problems with our dogs-dinner of a sliding washboard. At that time the steel springs (which take the weight of the washboard) has been incorrectly/badly fitted heralding a complete & utter failure. Discovery kindly responded by sending me all the bits for me to fit a new washboard, complete with new coil springs and fastenings. Problem I had was (i) getting the new parts out to Turkiye because the washboard is big & heavy and too big to pass as normal hand-luggage, (ii) I had to cut & shape the teak header bar to fit and (iii) I had to refit the spring
-coils fastening arrangement to prevent same thing happening again, and again. Annoyingly, the guy that fitted some fastenings had not taken into account the size of the access hole, which the chippy would be putting in. Consequently, when the chippy had done his stuff the fastenings are no longer accessible. Hence, nearly five years ago I did the best job possible and our sliding washboard has lasted 4½ years compared to the Mk1 ill-fated attempt. 4½ years life ain't bad but surely why the heck did it have to fail this morning. Let's put this in prospective, we're doing 8kn, with both for's sails out, on autopilot, in what we are now accustomed to is a poohey mess of a sea with 2m swell from the NE & 2m waves from the E, which every now & then combine forces to give us another kick up the arse making us screw round, forcing our autopilot to react assertively to keep our desired course ..... only to find ourselves cockumed in our nice dry bubble below decks. I need tome tools, proba
bly the lump hammer? Remembering the eyes popping out of 'our demon of the deep with fanged teeth' I have certain second thought about using this implement on our fancy washboard which is firmly stuck up! I can' at least do a Hudini and extracate myself through the overhead sliding hatch - not easy but doable in the circumstances provided I can keep my undercarriage valuables in the clear? Three swallows, two coughs and a leap of faith later I'm in the cockpit trying to see down the smallest of slit-openings trying to free the run-away coil spring, which is well and truly trapped. Of course, we don't want to make a pigs ear out of a soddin mess so we tread carefully and I have to reverse entry back into the saloon to see what I can cunjur up to help sort the problem. Sue call this type of event "Another Apollo 13 moment!". After some imaginative use of various tools and galley equipment we finally manage to extricate our sliding washboard to make an entry/exit hole. Immediate proble
m solved, we can get on deck whenever needed without having to pay a tariff or fear of damaging the wife's best friend. What do we do with the broken mess of a spring lifting system? Remembering s/y Hebe has done-away with their lifting system - probably following like-for-like failure, my decision has to be "No spring balance from now on and for foreseeable future. This means removing both highly tensioned stainless steel coil springs (dangerous because risk of slicing through fingers on very sharp edges). Not easy when the retaining nuts have been glassed in preventing access to hold them and because the flippin access panel is too small to get direct access to the fixing screws anyway! Where there's a will there's an eye-popping lump hammer, screwdrivers of different size, and electric cutter (which won't fit in the hole) and ultimately a hacksaw blade and time enough to use it carefully! Our local butcher would probably turn-away in disgust! The last screw is always the most awk
ward but it eventually gave-in to a bit of hacksaw blade, big screwdriver & powerful lump hammer. Coil springs now fully removed, our sliding washboard is now back in place so we can use it and get in and out freely. Unfortunately it's a soddin heavy piece of kit, not easy to lift-up and might do some damage if it might fall uncontrolled at any time in the future. No doubt an accident waiting to happen with the clout of a blunt guillotine. There's an idea, might save needing to use our lump hammer on the next fish we catch? I'll add this job to my ever-increasing project to-do list. A re-designed arrangement is needed on this so planning time at several sundowners will come in useful before I make a move on best option. And a good morning is being had along the way to far far away.

Sadly, we have some of the worst news possible. Fellow sailors and CA Members Rodger and Margaret Pratt, s/y Magnetic Attraction, who sailed from UK earlier this year, are the subject of an attack in St Lucia. Roger has been murdered and Margaret is in hospital. We can't recall every meeting these people but we are shaken to hear this news. This is entirely devastating for us yachties. It is sublimely worrying when we are just 24 hours from arriving Barbados and is sending shivers through Sue & Sandra, ahead of joining us next week. A sad reality at the end of a wonderfully enjoyable ocean passage so we must be vigilant whilst in the Caribbean.

In last 25 hours we have steered a course through the water covering 172NM on our log. We have reduced our distance towards Barbados by 165NM and now have just 166NM to go. Bubbly going in fridge to celebrate our safe arrival......... are we there yet? Lump hammer now going to live under Sue's pillow, where it's always gonna be handy! J.I.C
Ticketeeboo MMSI 235071989 Callsign 2CED3, Ham callsign = m0hng
At 19/01/2014 16:10 UT our position was 13°38.39'N 057°00.69'W