08:02.99N 79:08.90W Like a Bat out of Hell

Thu 24 Mar 2016 16:52

08:02.99N 79:08.90W Like a Bat out of Hell

By 4.00pm Zoonie was creaming along at 8.4 knots under reefed genoa alone with a fabulous tail wind which not only gave us gusts of 28 knots but also sent a lovely cool draft through the boat. We were being spat out of the Bay of Panama in fine style.

Pantropical spotted dolphins welcomed us back to their world.

That night there were many ships making their way towards the separation lanes and the ship alarm was sounding constantly. On my watch I was up and down the companionway steps I don’t know how many times to turn it off once I had acknowledged the ship, trying not to wake Rob. Neither of us got much sleep and felt like limp biscuits the next morning.

Rob has now set up the IPad so we can turn the alarm off in the cockpit, my IT genius.

The following night, to avoid dancing with ships, we went onto the other tack and had a much more peaceful night.

23rd March The wind is dropping as predicted so we start work on re-fixing the windlass in place so we can use it when we have to anchor in Cabo Pasado, 15 miles north of Puerto Amistad to await instructions.

Rob was the brains and muscle and I was the gopher, theatre sister and tea-lady.

With the windlass in the cockpit for a clean-up and removal of the masses of encrusted salt we discovered that one of its four bolts had no nut on it and two had no washers to spread the load, hence its tenuous link with the shelf.

We used one of our wooden storm windows (in the event of the elements breaking one of the big windows) to make two base plates to bolt above and below the existing shelf with its broken bolt holes. I made a quick template of it first so we can easily replace it.

When the windlass was back in place we found its bolts were too short for the two thicknesses of wood, so we used only the one underneath. That was a disappointment but we thought we could use the spare as a template for two metal plates that would be thinner and stronger.

Lastly Rob re-connected the electric cables and as I walked back to the cockpit to press the green Anchor winch switch, I said to myself “Please work.” After all Rob’s hard physical work, sawing, drilling, screwing on the nuts upside-down in the anchor locker he deserved SUCCESS. But ‘no’, the electrics did not work.

A job for an electrician while he could also fix the steaming lights up forward.

The wind continued to drop as predicted and just after midnight we turned on Rupert and found that with only 1400rpm we had over 5.5 knots of speed with a nice tide to help us. We had sailed over 330 miles with 190 to go.