Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Day 4 - purring engine

Yesterday saw us making quite good progress from the early morning on. We had sailed under the edge of a bank of low grey clouds, hoping to take advantage of some winds after a too calm night. This proved to be a good move, for while our friends 20 miles away were motoring, we sailed all day in breezes up to 10 knots. The seas were down and the wind only a little behind the beam. Eventually as the wind died down, we unfurled all sail and were still making 4 knots when we noticed around sunset that we would soon sail out from the edge of the front and into clear skies.

As I guessed, this meant the end of our wind, and after sailing southeast (90 degrees from our desired course) for a few hours, we finally lost any semblance of forward movement. There was still enough swell to make taking down all sails and waiting it out an unpleasant prospect, so we started our diesel for the first time on this passage. She has been purring away at 1300 rpm, pushing us at 3.5 to 4 knots for several hours now, while we doze below with ear plugs in to drown out the unaccustomed din.

We had our first movie on passage - a late afternoon matinee, watched while we still had a reliable breeze. The feature presentation was "The Best Years of Our Lives" - a nearly 3 hour long movie about servicemen returning to their US hometown after World War II. This An excellent film with thoughtful dialogue and very good acting. It deals with the difficulties soldiers, sailors, and civilians experienced adjusting to a changed life after the prolonged upheaval of war. Many of the truths the movie explores are still relevant today. I guess this is what makes a classic.

We saw one boat last night, which motored past us maybe 4 miles off as we sailed sluggishly to the southeast. Also, our friends on 'Melody' suffered a broken paddle shaft on their Aries windvane self-steering gear. We checked our Monitor windvane parts, but determined that our shaft replacement piece would not fit their gear, despite the American Monitor being a copy of the British Aries. Holge on Melody believes he can sleeve the shaft with a slightly modified winch handle, but will need to stop in Minerva to make the repair.

We have been sailing through fields of pumice, the detritus of an underwater volcanic explosion that occurred nearby. Apparently the pumice reaches all the way down to New Zealand,. So far, it has not affected our water cooled engine.

At 7:45 we were located at 23 11 S 177 56 W - Te sails are up in 1-2 knots of SW wind and were making 1-2 knots in relatively smooth seas.

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