Thursday April 18, 2013
Day 13, 36 23S 14 13 W SEI=5
My 23:00-02:00 watch. It is gale force. Onora continues to push into the winds and the waves knock her nose off and slam us sending a shudder through her bones but she lunges ahead. More of our jib has been rolled and we have fallen off from 55 to 70 degrees wind angle to give the sleepers a chance but, with the rocking and pitching, only exhaustion seems to bring on Morpheus.
Onora's systems are protesting the abuse. Yesterday it was the generator and refrigeration. The cooling water intake seems to be the refrigeration problem. The generator is running again but the refrigeration will have to wait until things settle down.
We are tired. Sleep is fitful and the constant plunging and slamming of the waves makes everything difficult. Our wind forecast by satellite phone calls for this to continue for another day, then the winds move counter clockwise and come from our back to push us which will be a huge improvement. We are counting the hours.
Ed has had some bad days when he has no energy but today he seemed better. His mind is always keen and he often sees something I miss. His memory is handy. I can give him a position and ask him for it later when I need to enter it into the GPS.
Day 13 continued 11:00
We are all sitting in the pilot house. Ed says in spite of everything we have lost - the engine, mainsail, refrigeration and fuel - we have not lost our spirit.Jeannie says we have seen the good, the bad, and now we are in the ugly.
Friday April 19, 2013
Day 14, 36 39S 7 19W SEI=8
The sun is out and finally sailing down- wind with the jib flying on the pole and reacher set. The refrigeration and the generator are demanding my attention again.
Saturday April 20, 2013
Day 15, 34 21S 21 31W SEI=8
Smooth downwind sailing continues-why can't it always be like this? Grey today, but no engine for four days which is better than a sunny day.
Sunday April 21, 2013
Day 16, 36 39.9 S 3 44.6 W SEI=9
Onora is heeled over at a 10 angle and rolling with the waves. It is a cool grey day with rain. A brown and white shearwater slowly circles Onora having taken up a watch over us from the yellow billed albatross that had followed us until yesterday. Jeannie reported that a ship, the only one we have seen for two weeks, appeared on her 23:00-2:00 watch. It came from behind, then alongside as though checking us out before moving on in front of us to disappear into the black night.
Sailing conditions are so much better. The head-on winds are gone and now wander from the beam to behind us and back again. The seas are down and gently rock us to much needed sleep. Ken the router predicts more of the same to at least mid-week.
I am making headway on repairs. The engine is fine; refrigeration back up; sails fixed; our fuel loss to the bilge, while still a mystery, has stopped and leaves us with more than enough. The reacher, our biggest head sail that speeds us along in light winds, has a sick furler that we spent yesterday nursing. The healthy but smaller jib will get more use.
Ed is up and wearing, tragically, his orange and silver Boston Marathon shirt. Each afternoon at 6:00 we tune in the BBC headlines on our high frequency radio and have been following the unbelievable man-hunt in locked-down Boston.
Today's agenda includes a search for the home of a set screw that Ed found on deck yesterday. Every screw on this boat has a purpose and that small bit of metal could lead to big problems so the detectives are at work.
Later in the day, if no new problem is discovered, we will play a card game of 'Oh Hell', a fitting name for a game on this trip. We have played twice and Jeannie and I have won so Ed wants his turn. Jeannie will cook another crew pleasing feast or defrost a meal she has banked for rough conditions. At eight Ed and I go off watch to try sleeping and tomorrow we will be a day closer to Cape Town.
Monday April 22, 2013
Day 17, 36 17S 00 18W SEI=6
Another three-reef night with gusting into the low 30's, but the angle is good-on the beam-so we are making over eight knots. I had a good sleep without a sail change wake-up and just relieved an exhausted Jeannie. She climbed into the 'coffin' still warm from me and pulled the covers over her head for her six hours off until 1:00PM.
Tuesday April 23, 2013
Day 18, 35 58S 03 35E 734 miles to Cape Town SEI=5
It is 09:15 and I am the only one up. Ed has been off watch and in the bunk for ten hours. He has not been feeling or sleeping well.
My vision was that Ed would take to this life and that he would enjoy handling sails but his body has rebelled and his unsure footing makes him rightly cautious for fear of injury (we have no orthopedic surgeon on board). He is suffering from severe constipation. Clearly, the years that Jeannie and I have been doing this have silently trained our bodies to know how to deal with it.
Meanwhile, Ed has taken a special interest in my safety and tries positive reinforcement by thanking me for 'clipping on' (which I should but do not always do) each time I return to the cockpit from the sea-washed deck. We three were sitting in the pilot house while seas washed over two days ago when Ed said, 'not since I was a little baby has my survival been so dependent on one person as it is with Jim on this trip'.
Both the generator and refrigeration stopped working again. I decided that the generator could be due to air getting into a fuel filter and so changed two fuel filters which was a colossal mess-a bad idea when sailing hard in 25 knots with slamming seas. Ed and Jeannie came to the rescue as I was sliding on the engine room's diesel soaked sole trying to hold onto a bucket full of dirty sloshing fuel. This took most of the afternoon and finally, at 19:00, the fuel line was bled and the 'start' button pushed but no result.
I am confident that refrigeration is finally fixed. The salt water pump looked good but a test showed it was not doing the job and the impeller needed to be replaced.
Ed is up and we are sitting in the pilot house discussing Ken's lousy prediction of light winds vs. our 25 knots- but, we are making great boat speed. Saturday in Cape Town is a real possibility.
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Day 19, 35 44S 7 30E TWS 10 Seas 8 Height 9 TWA 10= SEI= 9
Lovely day with birds-albatross, petrels shearwaters.
Good sleeping conditions. I got a wake up at 03:00 on Ed's watch to roll out the reacher on the pole. Ed is suffering but does not complain and helped me set the pole.
Seas went down and winds dropped to 20 by 8:00pm and down a bit through the night but not the light winds in the forecast. Our chief weather feature is a high pressure ridge that we must be riding like a surfer on a wave. It has given us a good, if not always comfortable, ride.
The generator's evaporator is plugged and is out of service for the rest of the trip. The engine will be used to charge the batteries.
We are counting the miles-just 547, and looking at the ETA for Saturday if we can keep a decent speed up.
Thursday May 25, 2013
Day 20, 35 12S 11 29E SEI=6
We have been motoring since midnight; the winds have gone around to the south west; A.I.S. targets are now appearing showing other ships. I had a scare this morning when engine died but it was due to my forgetting to switch fuel back on after working on the generator.
For me, the birds are the highlight: petrels, shearwaters and our faithful albatross. Our clocks are now on Cape Town time - five hours ahead of Santos. Ed is very uncomfortable but bearing it well.
An email from Marge announces she is in Cape Town seeing the sights.
All foreign yachts are supposed to land at the Royal Cape Yacht Club where the crew must check in with immigration and customs, but they have not answered my emails.
Friday April 26, 2013
Day 21, 35 03S 12 27E SEI=6
This lovely fall day finds us switching between sailing and the motor in light winds. We are keeping up speed to arrive tomorrow. Jeannie is making Pizza. No repairs needed so we are cleaning.
Saturday April 27, 2013
Day 22, 34 16S 18 19E
Land Ho! A much improved Ed has just called me up to see the faint smudge of Table Mountain at 10:40am. It is a perfect cool morning. Jeannie reported porpoises playing in our bow wave on her watch. Our 'watch birds' have been joined by many others and a dozen seals float on their backs with heads cocked to see us go by.
The Royal Cape Yacht Club finally responded to say we are too big for them and so we are scrambling to find a berth in the Victoria and Alfred waterfront. Just our luck, this is 'Freedom Day', a public holiday and the marina office is closed.
17:40 - We are tied up and Marge is on board. Entering this harbor is like sailing into a combined Navy Pier and South Street Seaport on a packed holiday weekend. Two pedestrian bridges opened for us so we were the center of attention; what a contrast after so many days of empty sea.
Marge joined us for a day sail on Monday April 39th to Saldanha Bay where Onora was hauled out of the water and will sit on stands until we return at the end of October.
Ed lost 2 notches on his belt, I'm twelve pounds lighter and Jeannie has more gray hair.