Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Day 22 - Bermuda to Ireland

Weather: Mixed 1.5m seas, fog - cold; not the Caribbean.

General Comments: Did I mention how were were enjoying the relative calm yesterday morning? After 7 days of storms that interlude was wonderful.. Just after we'd sent our emails and Kyle was getting ready for his rig check I heard a TWANG (???) something under tension had just given way - gulp. The noise came from the back of the boat, I took a quick look and was relieved find the back stays connected - Kyle went to do his full rig check and immediately found the solar panel leaning down on one side - the cause? -  one of our hand rails had sheared. The starboard step, inboard "n" shaped handrail just broke cleanly as if cut about 3" up from the deck at the forward attachment point (and 1/4 above the welding for the clip on point). Connected also to the hand rail is the love seat and some of the dinghy davit hardware (and of course the solar panel). The main part of the hand rail had been pulled up and back (presumably by the forces from the davits?). Clearly, it would be crazy to continue sailing like this, but we still have a long way to go and it would also be crazy to tow the dinghy - we had to find some kind of temporary fix. We spent some time with tackle and lines until we could pull the rail back in alignment - we put the two pieces back together with some 1/2" PVC pipe inside to help guide that position and we've cinched it down with some good line and a Spanish windlass. So far, it seems to be holding. I have no idea why it would break in such a way. The dinghy is not that heavy (well within the limits for the davits) and it has a cover to prevent water getting in, but even if water gets in, the drain hole is open - so no extra weight should be in it. This happened in our calmest moments. I'm not sure if there was some inherent fault in that rail, or if somehow, some unexpected/unknown forces have broken it - for now it is a mystery and we'll have to seek help once we get back to land. Of all the problems we've had on this passage, this is the one that I expect to be the most expensive and time consuming out of our "fun" schedule to solve.  Grrrr.

Broken Handrail and Temporary Fix

Kyle adds: that we managed to pull the rail back into place using our windward preventer tackle with its 5:1 purchase and quick release clips on either end. We'd rigged it like this to help in recovering items (people) aboard, but it came in perfectly for this need - with a block clipped to each end of the hand rail and the tail line cleated once at the right tension we were able to then bring the parts together and then tie separate lines and a Spanish windlass securely before removing the "preventer" tackle.  We've added a vice grip at the base to hold the two parts in alignment too (secured separately to the boat in case it falls off). The fix seems pretty secure, but the real test was that we had another 24 storm forecast. We are (hopefully) in the last hours of that now and so far all is well. Yesterday the weather started to get rough again during dinner (we were expecting that 24 hour storm), and it was pretty bad through the night (it is really hard to steer in these seas). On my off watch, each time the boat pounded, slewed or rolled, I was convinced the dinghy was hanging off the boat by one increasingly bendy davit; I kept calling out to Maryanne to check on things, and she would assure me that everything was fine. We are also on a really fast point of sail (broad reach) surfing down waves. It is hard to keep the boat speed below 8 or 9 knots. This is great for getting to Ireland, but from the bed it sounds and feels as though the boat is way too overpowered, so apart from worrying about the dinghy I was now also concerned we needed to reef more than we already had (we were sailing with reefed main and jib, and winds were around 21kt - so all was just fine for the conditions)  In the end, I got maybe a fitful hour of sleep during my off-watch. By the time I came on watch, of course everything was fine, I had a fast night of tearing a grove in the ocean towards our destination.  It looks as if our arrival time is most likely dead of night.  We want to avoid this, not just because of entering the harbour - although it looks quite safe, but because we will have to clear customs and immigration and there is no benefit to arriving when they are closed (then we'd have to anchor and dinghy ashore in the morning) - We are hoping if we arrive in work hours, the marina will let us tie up there to clear customs - much easier.  Plus we've come all this way - it would be nice to enjoy the views on our arrival in Ireland and the entrance to Baltimore in particular.  To make sure we arrive in the day time we'll eventually have to slow down and coast slowly in. For now, we are making the most of the storm winds to get us as far as possible before they die off. We've just now managed to get full sail up (in 15kt of wind).

The good news is that neither of us has yet to be seasick on this passage. Given it hasn't happened yet, I assume we are set for the rest of the passage. The secret must be to set out on a calm day. I'll make sure Kyle takes note of that concept.

Kyle actually woke me up on my off watch to tell me he spotted a regular old seagull yesterday.... He was very excited.

Food: Mexican: Burritos

Progress: Yesterday we made 114 nm, So far on this trip we have traveled (through the water) 2537 nm, and have 258 nm (straight line) to go.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi U 2

Have just tried again on the phone but to no avail not sure what time you have it on we are trying to get in touch to update you on our travel plans we still arrive on the 30 hope you will still be in Baltimore let us know when you dock so we can pehaps use a uk mobile phone number for you.