Trip Reports

If It's Going To Happen, It'll Happen Out There (08-Dec-2002-22-30):
10:30 PM local time, Sunday, December 8 (2230 Dec. 8 UTC) 17 38 N 038 42 W. Temp. 79, Humidity 73%, Cloud Cover 20%. Twelfth day at sea. (I miscounted last time.)

Warm greetings from the crew of Maverick.

The last couple of days we've had great sailing in a slightly lumpy cross swell coming from a low up north. We've got 12-20 knots, and beautiful weather. In the mornings we participate in a couple of SSB nets, the first an informal one with three other circumnavigator friends we met along the way, plus, occasionally Okiva. Paul and Francis, when last heard, still had a major oil leak. They put a huge amount aboard and are heading for a brief stop in the Canaries before attempting the crossing. The other net is about 50 boats not involved in the ARC who do daily check-ins to report their positions and conditions.

Even though the sailing is pretty pleasant, there are some clouds on the horizon, both physically and figuratively. The real clouds are puffy cumulus, typical tradewinds clouds indicative of good weather. Among them are some cumulus that get pretty big and become squalls, and some of the cruisers have been complaining about them on the net. The crew of Maverick has seen the squalls in the Java Sea and is unlikely to be intimidated by these. I know I shouldn't say that… The other clouds are referenced in the title of our piece, a quote from Captain Ron in the movie of the same name. We've had a few more problems, since the old ones have been solved. Some readers have written in concerned about our lack of ability to motor, but this hasn't been an issue. When we had light air for a couple of days lots of people passed us, but we don't mind sitting around in the middle of the sea. We're not in a hurry to be someplace. In the harbor, we're just tourists or boat mechanics, but at sea, we're sailors. This is what we've paid the price, in many ways, to do, so we don't feel in a rush to get it over with.

We're happy with the bung solution. Every day, Ship's Chief Diesel Proctologist Terry Shrode shows up for work in his white lab coat, with his briefcase full of bungs of all sizes and materials, and his collection of bung mallets. He carefully emplaces Maverick's bung and sends it home with a satisfying "thwack." So that's taken care of for now (and thanks to everyone who wrote in with the solution, for which I'm sorry to say there's no prize as we'd already figured it out.)

But another issue has arisen. The very next day after praising the Monitor vane to one of our readers, of the four boats on our little circumnavigator net, all of whom use Monitors, three had broken. Otter and Delphis were able to make satisfactory jury-rigs that will get them across, but on Maverick the break in a weld on the water vane pivot shaft that holds the vane's rudder on, will not allow of any simple solution. We've thought of one, but it would be difficult and the repair would be considerably weaker that the original, probably insurmountably so. This is a part of the Monitor that experiences the highest loads.

The result is that, with about 1400 miles to go, we'll have to rely on our two Navico wheelpilots to get us there. Navico completely lied to your correspondent about certain aspects of their product on several occasions. It was clear when we left that it would steer the boat in heavy conditions. But when I tried to buy spare belts, the company assured us that they were Kevlar and would never break. As our long time readers know, the first one broke on the way out the Golden Gate in thirty knots in the shipping lane, and in the process made the boat unsteerable. They actually will do the job, if we can avoid using up all our spare belts. This will require a combination of going slow, hand steering, and, if the wind is in the right direction, setting up the double headsail rig which can steer itself. Once the belts are gone, we steer by hand.

There is a little fallout from the failure of the Monitor as well. One thing is that the emergency rudder Maverick carries depends on using the Monitor as a frame. This is now not possible. Secondly, if the cable-steering system were to fail, it would have been possible to steer with the emergency tiller, using lines attached to the Monitor. Now, however, a cable system failure, if irreparable by other means, will mean hand-steering by tiller for the duration.

Reader Chris Harry, a knowledgeable sailor whom I've never met, wrote warning of the possibility of "one thing leading to another," and let's hope he's not a particularly prescient guy.

PS to Hank: Thanks for the info. I think we'll go back to the original plan of going to Grenada.

PS to Dick: Sorry, no temp readout on the knotmeter.

PS to Herb: Yes, we're aware of the other Herb...thanks for the tip and the tip on your friend.

PS to Bob: Yeah, we did a gig or two with Rosie, but didn't know her well for some reason.

PS to all the rest who've written with their best wishes: I guess we're going to need them.

Back to the Progress Chart | Back to Trip Reports
Progress ChartTrip ReportsPhoto GalleryAbout MaverickThe CrewGlossary & Technical Weather Check