Bill & Joe’s Excelllent Adventure Day 3

0100 hours Bill took first watch. Sea and wind is down. Learning how to use the Radar.
0245 hours. Watched movie on I-touch
0300 full moon breaks through. Seas 3 feet ….Average speed 6.5 knots
0400 hours Sea 3 feet speed 5.5 knots
0815 hours Went below at 0530 and good two good hours. We shook out the reef, wound up the Jib and popped the Spinnaker. Heading 310 at 6.5 knots. Not much in the way of sea life… one grouper hanging around a mess of jetsam and a tiny flying fish in the cockpit.
There is some blue sky on the horizon so maybe we will get some sun today. We are just about to enter the Puerto Rican Trench 25,000 feet deep.
1145 hours When I awoke from a morning nap I looked up through the hatch and spotted a rip in the spinnaker. We tried patching it with mylar tape but it did not hold.
1600 hours Rollers are getting big. Wind is abaft the beam and we are surfing along at a good clip. Bill suggested an early dinner since we had not eaten much all day.
I tried the helm for awhile. This boat is very responsive and with trailing seas it even more so….touchy.
1900 hours We just had our second equipment failure. I was below cooking stir fry chicken and Bill was on the foredeck when the auto helm alarm went off. I came up and reset it and the boat immediately jibed. I released the clutch and took over the helm. When Bill came back we discovered that the digital compass that controls the auto helm was out of sync with the magnetic compass on the pedestal. While I drove the boat Bill dug out the manual and tried to figure it out. It was a real challenge staying on course with trailing seas and big rollers…fun though! We decided to re-initialize the compass, kind of like rebooting a computer “no Joy”. This is supposed to be done on calm water not in 5 foot seas with 20 knots of wind. The computer kept aborting when the boat crested a wave and the bow swung. About his time both of us are thinking what a drag it is going to be if we have to pull shifts on the helm for the rest of the passage. It’s not a pleasant thing. Next we tried taking the sails down and doing it under power. Still “no Joy”.
I was just about to go below to find where the digital compass was mounted when Bill Suggested I check the connections at the instrument panel. I cut away the caulk, unscrewed the backplate and there was the problem. The wire had parted at the connection. Fortunately Bill had the right parts and we had it fixed in 30 minutes.

Author: JoeO

Powered Paraglider pilot since 2005

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