Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Day 8 - Bermuda to Ireland

Weather:  Still dull and gray with occasional showers, winds stronger than expected, and Kyle getting excited at the odd (surf induced) 9 and 10 knots. For the most part, we are averaging 7 kt this morning, but the waves are big and any exit from the cockpit results in a drenching.

General Comments: We ran the engine for 2 hours yesterday, expecting sun shine "any minute" that never came... Hopefully later today.  At 12:07 Footprint's odometer passed over 8000nm, and it was fun to think of all the places we've taken her over those miles.

But yesterday was also a day of problems. The Autopilot decided it would not longer steer properly, and moved over 120 degrees in each direction trying to find the right point of sail - that is WAY too big a swing and I had to disengage and hand steer (a job on that particular point of sail and sea conditions that only took a small tweak every 3-4 minutes).  The error seems to have started when we turned off the engine, and the last time this happened, we had to send of the unit for repair, this time it was resolved by turning everything off and on again (we don't like to do this as it also resets our trip log, but we like hand steering even less).

On Kyle's early morning rig check he found the split pin and washer that hold our forestay in place, out and on the deck.... So we had to address that IMMEDIATELY before the forestay became disconnected from the deck.  This caused horrible déjà vu from our last time (This is the same problem that caused the loss of our forestay on route from Antigua) once again, Maryanne was a hero showing up on deck with just the right parts and tools to fix it properly, and once again we had to disconnect the forestay hundreds of miles from anywhere in order to resolve the problem.  Since this was the morning rig check (14 hours after our previous check), I shudder to think how long those pieces had been waiting to come apart.  It could so easily (in our minds) have been a middle of the night rig failure, just like last time. Our Gemini Guru (R. Roscoe) suggested replacing the whole thing with a nut and bolt (one where the threads only start towards the end), but when we suggested this to Selden (makers of the forestay roller furler) they said not to do this, so we were cautious, and decided to just "keep an eye on things".  What would our insurance company say if we replaced a part specifically not recommended by the manufacturer and then had a problem?  Well now I don't give much of a care - we had that pin out and replaced with a bolt, self locking nut, and a split pin to be triple sure.   Once the fix was in place, I was left feeling quite anxious - what is going on at the TOP of the furler?  Is a split pin going to break/back out there too?  Kyle assures me that all is fine up there (he has spent some time with the binoculars).  To Gemini owners: There are 2 pins that hold the furler in place beneath the furler drum - one is in line with the boat (fore and aft) - this is the one that has twice now managed to lose itself and risk our rig while out at sea.  The other also seems to be a weak point - the toggle fitting is too wide and the forestay rides on one side, and as the motion of the boat causes some slack and tightening of the forestay it works itself over to one side, pulling the pin with it - eventually putting a lot of force on the split pin - this we had already replaced with a nut/bolt system as Mr Roscoe suggested (we put stainless washers in the middle to stop the movement to one side too).  After our last forestay came detached, we ended up spending around $3000 in repairs - the bolts (and paying for a machine shop to drill holes for the split pin) cost under $20.  After taking a good look at the circumstances of losing that split pin twice -  both times were when sailing downwind with the screacher - we think perhaps) even with some tension on the backstays) the screacher pulls the mast forward more, slackens the forestay more, and allows this working of the forestay pin to either break or work out the split pin.  This may also explain why other Gemini owners aren't generally reporting the same issue (combination of miles we have sailed, rougher sea conditions in which we find ourselves, and the installation of the screacher)

Food: I made veggie burgers yesterday, with some of the last few of our Bermuda Tomatoes - not bad (nor terribly great) as far as veggie burgers go - I found them pre-made in a can and you just slice the thickness you want, maybe a little thinner next time.

Progress: Yesterday we made 141 nm, So far on this trip we have traveled (through the water) 871 nm, and have 1921 nm (straight line) to go.

1 comment:

JD said...

The forestay attachment fiasco seems to be a 'design feature' of your boat. Hopefully you can modify the design to get you through the balance of your trip.