Friday, March 23, 2012

Day 3 - Becalmed - a Blessing in Disguise?

As frustrating as it can be, having no wind on a sailboat can be a good thing.

Yesterday - our third day out - saw very light airs for us and the other boats nearby that are also crossing to the Marquesas. We motored for two hours in the morning to steady the boat and look for wind, but gave up around mid-morning, figuring the swell was down enough that we could take down our sails and lie a-hull ('park the boat' - as our friends on Buena Vista put it). We swam in the indigo waters under cloudless skies, watching Ladybug roll alarmingly, even in the gentle northerly swell. It had been a week since our last proper shower in La Paz and rinsing off the grime of multiple night watches felt fantastic. Rani also took the vegetables out of their locker to allow them to air out - a daily chore now. I adjusted the propeller shaft stuffing box, which was leaking a little, and tightened some hose clamps on the muffler.

Despite the rolling boat, we decided to tackle a problem with Ladybug's structure. For the past two seasons, there has been a lot of noise - squeaks and the sound of wood flexing and rubbing against wood from the starboard center bulkhead area. The bulkhead here is what backs up the galley and the nav station, running across the boat. I finally traced the issue with a flashlight on the night watch because the sound was driving me nuts. After removing trim and panels from around the bulkhead, I found a fillet of epoxy that had cracked and no longer bonded the plywood bulkhead to the cabin sides. After chipping out the old epoxy, Rani helped me mix up some thickened epoxy and we injected this and worked it into the gap. It seems to have cured the noise from that area.

We sighted no shipping last night, but sailed through some heavy cloud and drizzle for much of the night, with a light north east wind on our beam. We actually sailed south east, 90 degrees off our desire course, in order to keep the sails filled and the boat moving. The radar alarm went off whenever a particularly thick shower came near us. The showers were too light to clean off our salty decks.

Our position this morning at 1430 Zulu (about 07:30 local time) was 19 56 N 112 02 W. We ran only 84 nautical miles in the last 24 hours, but the wind has picked up and we hope to reach or break 100 in the next 24 hours. At our current rate we will likely reach Clarion island sometime early Sunday morning.

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