Thursday, November 22, 2012

Day 13 - Things that Break

Yesterday was a day of drizzle and overcast skies. We made about 120 miles in easterly winds, with the main reefed to allow our wind vane to steer more easily.

Rani baked a parrot pie for supper - no she has not given up her vegetarianism - parrot pie is made with eggs, onions, and flour. This turns out sort of like a crustless quiche and always reminds us of our friends on Blue Moon who introduced us to this delicacy on a hike in Mexico. Yummy with Mexican salsa and the highlight of a drizzly, chilly day.

I thought I would mention a few things that we and other boats have had break down on us on this passage. Jimmy Cornell, in his cruising survey, does a more complete job of this, but maybe this will help people who are preparing for an ocean passage. There are two states that seem to cause the most damage to boats - calm or light winds in rolly seas, and heavy winds, particularly squalls. We have had more of the former on this passage, but the rolling around and slatting that a boat goes through out here can cause a surprising amount of damage.

Here is my list based on about 40 boats on passage:

Broken sail slugs and batten cars - These and the webbing that ties the sails to the slugs wear quickly as the sails slap back and forth. Even a few days of this can destroy hardware and chafe right through webbing. Suggest you bring spares. One boat was forced to motor when their batten car broke at the top the mainsail, while another had a repair kit on board and carried on sailing. We had one slug break. This was our fault because we have reefed our mainsail while running in the past, which wears through the plastic sail track slugs in short order due to side loads. We now round up to reef or un-reef and will replace our plastic slugs with metal ones in NZ.

Head sail clew ring - one boat had this pull right out, presumably in a squall 'though I did not hear the details. They admitted that the clew ring webbing was tired. Suggest you restitch or renew this area if in doubt.

Head sail UV strip failure - not sure if the boat that suffered this had this happen in a squall. Apparently the sail cloth under the UV canvas was damaged and failed as well, so it was not just stitching (which is usually the first thing to go).

Staysail and jib failures - did not hear the details, but a few boats reported damage to their fore-sails in the heavier winds that the earlier fleet experienced a few weeks ago.

Auto-pilot - at least one boat had a failure of their autopilot. Not repairable on passage.

Pactor modem - we rely on this for email communications and weather forecasts. Two boats reported failures and we relayed weather to one of these boats that was in the area of a cyclone.

Wind vane steering - We heard of three boats who had wind vane steering failures. Two were repairable on passage. Bring spares for your wind vane (Monitor provides a complete rebuild kit when you buy their wind vane).

Solar panels. One boat had a panel destroyed in heavy weather. They suggested that we lash our panels down before we get into bad conditions. They went through 50+ knots of wind and seas of more than 7 meters.

Engine transfer plate - I think I have this term correct. The bit that transfers power from the engine to the transmission failed. This meant that the boat could neither motor nor re-charge its batteries. Not sure how one could prevent this. Conditions were so benign that another boat actually towed the disabled boat for a couple of days until the wind filled in!

Engine impeller followed by muffler melt-down. An old impeller (3 years) came apart and the hot exhaust melted the plastic muffler before the engine overheat alarm went off. Replace old impellers before your trip..

Our position at 7:45 this morning was 32 42 S 176 10 E. We are sailing now under sunny skies in a light NE breeze and are 160 miles out of Opua.

No comments: