The Home Straight? 08:55:29S 135:41:91W

Zipadedoda of Dart
David H Kerr
Tue 25 Mar 2008 12:09

The last 24 hours has been an unremarkable time. We continue to trundle along towards our destination of Nuku Hiva in the Marquasas. During the day we seem to make good times and then at night the winds become variable and sometimes quite light. So this can make the night passages uncomfortable and tedious, due to the relatively large rolling sea.


We now have 250nm to go to the WPT, and if the course computer is to be believed, we should arrive late evening on the 26th local time or in the early hours on the 27th UTC. If it looks like we are going to arrive at the anchorage in the dark, then we may well stop at Ua Hiva, which is 30nm closer to our current position and then move on at first light.


The journey has been an interesting one from the point of gear failure. The runner (Car) on the spinnaker pole track on the mast had a failure very early on into the trip, There is a nylon  “boot” which sits between the car and the track and it shattered. So we have an aluminium to alloy mechanical interface at this time, which has resulted in some minor damage to the mast track. This will require some TLC on arrival as well as a new car. Hopefully BWR will be able to source a new one in the UK and bring one out to me in Tahiti. Meanwhile I will have to attempt to fabricate a new boot as a temporary fix.


The mainsail has taken quite a beating. All of the battens have worn themselves through the leach of the batten pockets. The sail now has a prune like texture, albeit white! It is noticeable that the ends of the battens are quite rough, So the constant rubbing on the aft end of the pockets has simply worn through the sail. Have to say I was surprised by this and the fact that this area did not have more re-enforcement. Particularly as Hood knew we were sailing around the world and that it would be mostly down wind sailing. Hopefully Jennie and I between us will be able to effect some temporary repairs to this sail in Nuku Hiva (as there are no sail makers in the Marquasas), with a view to getting a “proper job” done in Tahiti later in April.


Of course our old favourite the Fischer Panda generator did not want to miss out on the fun! So the capacitor bank failed today. I do have a spare set on the boat (after it also failed coming across the Atlantic). So I will have the pleasure of being bounced around inside the engine compartment tomorrow whilst I disassemble the Capacitor box, and then replace all the capacitors. If I don’t do this then the coils in the change over contactors on the mains switch board will burn out and also we can’t make water, because the water maker will not start if the generator frequency is above 50Hz. So Fischer Panda are arranging to get yet another lot of spares out to us. It is costing a kings ransom to keep this generator going………..


The Mast Head Unit for the B& G Hydro 2000 system failed on the first couple of days. This has meant that we have not been able to use the wind pilot. This has not been as big a problem as I feared, as we have been able to use the Autopilot in Waypoint mode and most of the time the wind has been reasonably stable so we just have to make minor adjustments to the track.  Tony Diment from BWR has brought the replacement unit with him (we hope) and I then have the pleasure of going up the mast to replace it. That should be interesting.


Given that this was to be the longest single passage on the BWR I guess some gear failure was inevitable as simple wear and tear That said,  I do intend to share my experiences of living with a Fischer Panda Generator with their MD to see what can be done to (drastically) improve its reliability.


The next blog entry will (hopefully) be from Taiohae Bay in Nuku Hiva. Prior to our going ashore and having some real fun!