Running out of fuel

Elemiah's Atlantic Adventure
Ian Cole and Rosemary Bointon
Sun 13 Jul 2008 01:17
We made good progress under engine even if our ears are ringing with the constant noise. But this morning (Wednesday), hiccup hiccup, silence.

So much for thinking that our fuel consumption was going well. We had run out of fuel on the starboard fuel tank.

We then had to bleed the engine and prime the fuel pump - so out came all the companionway steps. The engine manual came out, the right spanner was found, injectors loosened and lo and behold - fuel was flowing from the other tank. Crank the engine up - hooray she is going.

BUT, this means we don't have any wind and not enough fuel to get to Lagos in Portugal. We still have the port tank which is about a third full and 40 litres of diesel in separate containers, but this does not add up to enough fuel to motor all the way.

We hoist the gennaker and make about two knots an hour of progress - mostly in the wrong direction. There is not enough wind to fill our usual sails - we only have between 4 - 6 knots of wind altogether. If there is not sufficient wind to fill the sails then all they do is bang and slat and spill what wind there is. So out came our beautiful angel - but she won't take us directly down wind. We have to sail with the wind on our quarter, but at least this gets us moving, albeit very slowly indeed.

As the day goes on, the speed picks up and we flew the gennaker all night. This morning, Thursday, we still had 280 miles to go. Fortunately, the wind decided to get up during the day and we have been blessed with wind from the north west since lunch time. So we are now able to sail directly towards Lagos and at a reasonable speed.

Since we have booked flights to get back to London, we are really hoping that Elemiah will keep up her speed. Another busy night for our angel. It will be touch and go if we make the plane.

Rosemary and Ian