Oh what a night

Nick Mines
Wed 11 Nov 2015 09:03

22 32.180N 019 26.380W

Wednesday 11th November 2015

What a night! We have maintained the twin poled out Yankee jibs through the night with the winds and seas quite high but it has been exhilarating absolutely creaming along with the auto not having to work too hard and the rig forgiving any swell induced ‘weave’ - great stuff, this is the sailing I had hoped for!

Our travails with the water maker continue but we are making progress. At the risk of 50% of the readership glazing over, this is where we are at. The final elimination exercise involved feeding the input with sea water straight from a bucket in the cockpit.

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With the pipe full of water there was a syphon to the water maker. The unit produced good water at the right rate. This proved that there is no fault with the water maker.

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The unit had worked in the marina but not at sea and the problem would seem to be air getting into the supply side under way so the high pressure pump is compromised - by pneumatics rather than hydraulics. Prolonged close inspection of the pipe from the sea cock revealed bubbles entering the pipework.

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Exchanges of Emails with the ever helpful Jim MacDonald of Mactra (very good of them as they are agents and have only sold me spares and they didn’t supply Northshore) disclosed that Northshore should have used a different type of sea cock to take the input away from the skin of the hull where bubbles form and can enter the system. So the mission was to try to get a bubble free sea water supply. We tried picking up from the deck wash pump supply, generator supply and even with a hose down the direct cockpit drains. A flash of inspiration (mostly Barry) led us to try a hose down the keel box, fiddled past the keel into the sea below – brilliant, not only direct into the sea but away from the hull and the pipework, although convoluted, it didn’t involve open lockers and removed cockpit gratings. It worked ! Having tested output for quantity and quality, it was time to switch it to the tanks. The production stopped and apparent back pressure on the fill union seemed to send the unit into reverse. I have been mulling this over off watch, braced in my berth and I fear another Northshore cock up which I will explore when the sun comes up. I think they have connected the supply from the water maker to ‘take offs’ from the tanks and not supply unions straight into the top. If this is the case and the cause of the problem, we can’t do much about it until we get to Mindelo but I do feel that we are steadily making progress and although a permanent fix will have to wait until we haul out somewhere having obtained the correct fittings, I feel we should be able to achieve some sort of water production.

The broken hydrogenerator downhaul was an easy fix but we have not been able to re-deploy it as we have been going too fast and you need to practically stop to overcome the resistance.

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The crew are not too unhappy about this as I have had to run the generator which means they get hot water for showers!

I will let Stephen the fisherman cover his discipline but I would like to post a picture of his lure fashioned out of a crisp packet and he can explain why this has been necessary!

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Please note the facial hair Mary !!!


Stephen writes:-

Lumpy seas overnight were no problem for Hejira and surprisingly not for me either. Yesterday was a major DIY day and I expect that the saga of the watermaker will make into seafaring legend with songs written and tall tales passed on from generation to generation. While Barry and Nick were sweating in the bowels of Hejira I made a start with the tackle preparation hence the picture above. I was out to prove that the crisp packet could compete with the `dogs` lure. Unfortunately the expensive lure now sleeps with the fishes either because some monster of the deep took it or some incompetent fisherman failed to arrange the trace properly, I expect it was the latter. However I have created the `mark II` version lure and I will be trying that out today so will keep you posted, but suggest you don`t hold your breath. So far today no sign of any Dolphins just a vast expanse of open water .

Skipper has developed tennis elbow but the remainder of the crew in great spirits.



Bob writes:-

The middle watch personnel (The Doc and me) were surprised to receive two visits from the skipper last night. On the first occasion, the skipper clearly wished to impart something of moment! We were respectfully silent. Did he wish to monitor our watchmaking activities to make sure that we were on top of things? Did he want to deliver a motivational address to his two least experienced crew members, ensuring that we were aware of his complete trust in us and our ability to handle the boat in the increasingly lively conditions? Did he want a pee? Well, none of the above, as it happened. What he felt the need to impart was the fact that he had been mildly inconvenienced whilst in his scratcher! It appears that a slight course change to get the wind absolutely up our chuff to make the most of the deployed sail plan had caused wind-blown spray to come in through the open porthole directly above his head! We were, of course, devastated! However, I believe that the concern that we both felt passed quite quickly, probably within a nanosecond!

The second visitation was caused by a series of 25 knot gusts passing us in quick succession, combining with some rogue waves, to increase our speed quite dramatically to well over the 7 or 8 knots that we were making (SOG) regularly, to as high as 10.7 and even 12 knots on occasion!

The sailing has been quite exhilarating, with the wind strength rising and the sea state responding accordingly, the boat has behaved impeccably and we look forward more of the same, if not better!


Barry is scratching his head deep in thought with weighty water maker issues.