If It's Going To Happen, It'll Happen Out There
| 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
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
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
PS to all the rest who've written with their best wishes: I guess we're going
to need them.
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