Equator Bound ....Still! 01:04:86N 86:35:21W

Zipadedoda of Dart
David H Kerr
Tue 19 Feb 2008 06:10

This is the second longest passage we have undertaken since leaving Dartmouth last May.  In that time we have completed some 8000nm, and this has been (is) the most trying yet!! It is only (Ha) 760nm on this passage so far, with another 250nm to go on the Rhumb line. But the weather truly has been PANTS!!!


 Equatorial Attire


Today and as I write we still have revolving rain storms, but thankfully no lightening this night. It is hard to believe that we are only 64 nm north of the equator.


There is a tradition of dressing up to celebrate crossing the line (as it were). Jennie had planned to dress me up as a girl (worrying connotations here. Been too long at sea, me thinks). Apparently it’s the tradition on one’s first time….across the Equator. Need to pay homage to Neptune and all that. As things stand we will probably have pictures of us both wearing foul weather gear. NOT what was in the brochure at all!!


Last night saw some particularly heavy stormy squalls. So bad in fact that  in addition to the usual smattering of Flying Fish on the decks in the morning, we also had our first Cuttle Fish, an out of focus one at that!




We tried sailing today, but gave up in raw frustration. The current and winds conspiring to make beating a waste of time. Even tried beating and motor sailing at the same time with the engine just above idle speed . But that was just crazy, so we have been motoring since around 1100 am with a reefed main sail, to stop the boat rolling in the confused seas. Despite this we are still making painfully slow progress at typically 4.5knots SOG or less. BUT we HAVE to do everything we can to conserve fuel as the local currents in Galapagos can be awesome. For example if we get a foul current of say 4 knots as we approach the islands we will consume fuel at an alarming rate to make any sort of progress.

The course computer is telling me that we shall arrive at the waypoint in Academy Bay at 0800 UTC on the 21st February. Time will tell if this is true. I just hope we can get some sailing in tomorrow, as one of our boats has already run out of fuel. Not ideal………


The latest generator problem turns out to be a blown microprocessor on the control pcb. Fischer Panda say this was caused by a bad connection on the battery terminals for the generator starter motor or a dodgy isolator switch. It is not possible to check either of these whist under way, as much surgery is required to get at either item. Personally I suspect that is a red herring and that it is more probable that RFI from the SSB radio got into the PCB and the surge blow the chip. Or it just plan failed! Anyway, we managed to arrange to get a replacement to Richard Bolt of BWR as he emerged from the IOW ferry in Lymington, on his way to Heathrow airport and Galapagos. I gather Richard is doing an impression of a pack horse with all the spares he is bringing out for the rally boats. A wonderful service that reminds you why it is we are doing this as part of a Rally in the first place!


Hey ho, got to go and make another cuppa to help keep the caffeine levels up……………….and to raid the larder for another Jammy Dodger!!