Dos Dia

The day’s going smoothly, at least it was at first. I commented to W/ that this is “Rather Pleasant”.  She likes to use that phrase and I like to joke with it. It was rather plesaant. We were moving well, ahead of our schedule and the seas were not too bad. About 2 – 3 meters. There was enough of a breeze out that the sail didn’t bang back and forth. We were able to get some small things done in keeping us alive and in keeping all things working well.

Somehow, although we’ve had some good passages, we’ve not yet had the “perfect” passage.  When we needed to make a course correction I moved back to adjust the Sail o Mat  and saw that the piece I had just installed had began to slide out. This time it would NOT have permanently entered Davie Jones’ Locker as we did have the safety line on. Time to fix.  We disconnected the wind vane and W/ took the helm. I turned the windvane sail so the oar came up the way I could work on it, using the safety line, lifted it out of the water up to horizontal and then tied it off. There I went in search of the correct Allen Wrench and set about to put the oar back in the correct spot. Since it was horizontal it was easy to slide but lining up the hole in the oar tube with the hole for the set screw was going to be more problematic.  As I had lubricated the opening the oar tube slides in, as the tube moved a little in and out the lubricant was now smeared about 3 cm up and down the tube. I couldn’t find the hole.  Luckily to align the oar tube the first time I had marked on the bottom of the tube with permanent maker where the tube sat and the center. Finding that and placing it just so; all the while I was hanging out the stern of the boat with my harness clipped in, I was able to get the set screw snugged back down.  In the manual for the sail o mat there is no mention of how much torque to apply to the set screw. Also in the manual they say to “lubricate” the set screw! IMHO this is part of the issue.  Maybe someday I should remove the lubrication, clean the threads and use a thread locking sealant.  Right now though I won’t try that. Get the screw tightened down and get the wind vane back steering the boat.  I snugged the bolt down about as much as I could hanging over the stern of the boat.  That done I lowered the oar back  into the water and we set about connecting the lines again.  W/ and I discussed now that it would be best if I checked the screw  every 4 – 6 hours. Then I could tighten the screw if it needed to be.  If it wouldn’t move after two checks then I had good confidence that it would be fine.

Back on course we’re truckin.  Things are working well and we’re beginning to settle in for the night. Just as I retire we hear a “pop”.  One of the safety doubling  lines holding the block to the windvane let go.  We use a smallish line and it’s set in the Sun all year so I figure “ok”, just replace it.  The line is the small twisted nylon line you can buy in any hardware store. I cut some more line, weaved it around the block and the control line  and hook it up. Viola!  Again the Wind vane is steering. “Pop”!  It breaks. Damn!  Ok, do it again. “Pop”! DAMN! Investigate. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me!  I discover the knots are sliding on the line and letting go. It’s hard to tie a good knot in this line. The third time I tied a square knot and immediately behind the square knot tied another square knot, hoping that if the line slid, one knot would back the other up and tighten the first.   We reconnected  the vane gear and the boat is sailing itself.  5 minute, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, good!  Looks like I’ll be able to retire; sleep, again.

Overall the night went without further event.  At midnight  I turned on our aft nav light to light up the windvane and checked the set screw at our watch change. It hadn’t moved anymore. Great.  W/ went below for some shut eye and I took over the deck.  The worst thing about the wx now was that every so often we would get slapped up the side of the boat by a wave and the spray would cover a great part of the cockpit. All things outside were getting a salt water wash. This was by no means a good thing. Salt seems to encroach on anything near by and we endeavor to keep salt off our bodies and out of the boat as much as possible.

During our passage we had been keeping a SSB contact schedule with Passport and via the grapevine;  Wind Whisperer and Kiaja’sSong,  Mostly the signal has been best with Wind Whisperer and Kiaja’sSong as Aruba is open to the direction of our trip. Passport was in Santa Marta surrounded by mountains. Gary on Kaija’sSong had said we could expect some small showers and we did get a couple of fresh water rinses. Ironically they didn’t do much to remove the salt from the boat and they didn’t seem to flatten the seas. But with our foul weather gear on they didn’t do much to either of us. We just hid in the corner by the dodger and let the showers pass.

The following day I downloaded the new GRIBs.  Each morning I download a new set of them. The forecasters are quite good at 24 hours and beyond that we’re probably better off throwing the dice.  So far each days set of GRIB’s has shown us that we would have a good passage. This morning I downloaded them to see. Oh-Oh.  The forecast for the rest of the day is 30 kts or what Meteorologist say is “Windy”.  35 mph and about 55 kph.  We were in for quite a ride.

The day wore on. As the wind would push up to the 30 kts (Force 7 ) range the seas would built to about 5 meters

They grow em big down here!

They grow em big down here!

or 15 feet. Some would roll through quite large as different wave trains would combine. The wind and the seas and the green water from Río Magdalena are what sailors call hearabouts “Green Monsters”. Some would just be awesome to watch. And W/ would say some would be down right “scary”!  The large ones would roll us first down the hill then up the back side we would go. We’d watch the water boil at the top of the waves. The wind was blowing hard enough that as the wavelets would break the wind would blow the water right off the wave.  As exciting as it was it was wearing on us. The waves were closer together and the motion was a lot of work The only really good things were that the waves weren’t associated with the explosive wind gusts found in squalls and we would be making land fall tomorrow.

Go Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long

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