Day 1 Azores to Brest (or somewhere nearby) and with the marina re-stocked with diesel we took on just over 600 litres before heading out. Each island has proved difficult to leave behind and Terceira was no different. Not the best island for restaurants (we walked out of two, Marcelinos Steakhouse and The Patio!) but the museums and cathedrals were terrific. It was very tempting to swing south to Sao Miguel but a weather window is a weather window! We couldn’t believe our hull’s performance through the water as we glided along the south of the island. Upon leaving St Martin we struggled to make 4 knots and gradually over a few hundred miles the hull self polished but we never achieved the levels of performance that we are now getting. We can only put this down to the fish cleaning service in the Azores as they have been pecking away at the hull for five weeks now. So why the 1970’s Eurovision title for today’s blog? After nearly 9,000 miles the boom has developed play at the gooseneck and with each roll in the waves when the swell is more powerful than the wind it rises and then falls with a bang, like dropping a bowling ball from three storeys. It looks as though the couple of mm of paint and epoxy primer each side of the friction bearings on the vertical pin have worn so there is now maybe 4mm of vertical play in the system. The current question is how to shim this gap? We carry delrin sheet so we could in theory cut a new washer but nobody is taking the main load pin out of the gooseneck at sea! Looking at alternatives; wrapping with thin bits of braided line, seizing wire, making open ended washers from margarine tubs. Nothing convincing came to mind when all of a sudden up popped a possible fix; making thin aluminium shims out of coke can sides which are open ended but of a shape and size that they will wedge in place. This is an idea for sunrise tomorrow. DTG Brest 900nm
So it was a bit of a surprise yesterday when the WCC tweeted that the 2013 registration was open. We signed up to book our place so the Transatlantic train is rolling. We now have the key dates, the rules, the crew requirements.
New sails are almost on order. Some measuring to produce a final spec still to go. Not replacement white sails but a storm jib and a heavy weight assymetric which should get us through to the other side of the Pacific.
The bow thruster reveals itself…
and the bow has come up clean again
Our final lift-out is complete and winterisation has begun. It’s exciting to think that the next time in the water launches us into our adventure. The ARC 2013 rally entry is open next month and we are looking forward to putting our name on the list. In the meantime we are keeping a close watch on the 2012 rally with great tips being published by participants.
Our winter shopping list is shaping up:
Several litres of white vinegar, hydraulic oil, diesel oil, enviromentally friendly anti-freeze
and a few kilos of grease, polish, oils, Boracol 10RH, Arborsil 101,
and numerous bits of 316 sheet steel, rod steel, flat steel, acrylic, material
So we knew that summer would be the time to do all of the above deck jobs that need sorting from the waterline to mast head – bathed in sunshine and a light breeze with sealants and paint setting fast and jobs being ticked off. Well not in April, nor May, June, nah; try July in rain and 15 degs C with a constant F7 and a bit of windchill – so most of the ‘outside’ jobs list is carried forward and may have been added to.
Aside from that we have had a few good sessions with a 48 hour run Southampton to Brest testing our watch system (we will go with 3 hrs on and 3 off from 9pm to 9am after playing around with a couple of options).
(Rafted up in Brest)
We think we have run off about 700 to 800 sea miles (the speed transducer area is too fouled to give an accurate reading and shows about 5 knots max) and in doing so:
- Tuned the auto-pilot tack time and tested the Nav to Wind and No Drift options on the Simrad Autopilot
- Tested mainsail reefing fixed with help from Hamble Yacht Services
- Trialed the larger tender and outboard in 25 knots anchored a mile out
- Tested our AIS installation, new instruments and offshore breadmaking in the pressure cooker
- Tested LED replacement bulbs in the anchor lights – bright stuff
- Trialed the boom preventer arrangement – this is going to change because although we can now run under control we can dispense with the thimball set up and run a line straight through the fair lead which speeds up deployment
- And we need a better arrangement at the boom end to clip the preventer to. We need twice the length of dyneema run both sides of the mainsheet so we can gybe or easily switch sides on a run
- And we tested our sewing of webbing at the clew of the headsail over a couple of hundred miles
So the boat is easier to sail than a year ago but not yet ocean ready. Still jack stays to test, the staysail (which we have not needed having only seen F7 on the water in the past twelve months) and some essential yet simple additions to be made.
Both Aditi and we are at the half-way mark. We all feel that we are progressing well against our original 2 year timetable ahead of departure. Our preparatory work is covered under the ARC 2013 page of this site.
As we are now at the mid-point in our 24 month run up to the big cast-off we can definitely confirm that it takes two years hard slog alongside a job to get a boat ready. It’s about what we expected. We turned away from some serious projects because, although a great challenge, we could see a 5 year commitment would be required in order to get afloat. Maybe another day. Can we ease off…it’s tempting.
Hopefully we are not too deluded but as we feel that we are on target we may have the opportunity to enjoy the boat a little as opposed to forever having a head jammed into some dark crevice, torch in mouth, balancing 5 tiny parts compressed between fingers, all to go on one bolt in specific order just out of practical reach, probably with a hot pipe on one side, a sharp corner above, with feet rocking on two floor struts and a thick cable run just across the eyes. A typical Saturday morning and after 5 hours yoga the part that was resisting admits defeat through attrition as the seventh inspired tooling substitute blindly lines them up. Saturday evening is typically punctuated by some other unrelated component deciding to get involved and that’s Sunday’s jobs setback another week. Such surprise attacks have come from:
The Toaster – shorting and tripping the 250v circuit long before we planned to analyse it so big delay as wiring diagrams come out, wires traced and so on.
AIS – burning the whole of the negative supply cable before fusing
The Heads – these just revolt when they feel like it
Heating system – a regular ambush through coolant leaks, overheating and coded shutdowns
Raymarine compass – suddenly recalibrates by 140 degs
Transformer – cooling fan bearings rattling
Strobes – the earth wire does it’s own thing
General Upkeep – who’s he?
Starting from where we did it would be a task and a half to get ready in less than a year and the opportunity to learn about the innards of the boat would be limited (hey, maybe we should just go after two weeks and miss out on this part next time). But the great advantage of a boat – wherever you go you take the disgruntled parts with you!