Tomorrow morning at this time, I will hopefully be on my way to Boston, Massachusetts. It is an 8 day sail, less than 700Nm from Bermuda and crosses the gulf stream, where I believe the difference in temperature is dramatic. I spent the day yesterday, refueling, mounting my repaired genoa sail and registering my float plan with the USA customs and border patrol. Today it is running safety lines otherwise known as"jack" lines and provisioning. You can follow my voyage online at http://share.delorme.com/PeterRyan on the internet through my Inreach satellite device. It is a vast, empty ocean out there where days go by without seeing any other ships and to be able to send texts to family and friends is very comforting.
I was thrilled to have a visit from Kate, a visiting artist, who painted my boat here on the dock and sold the original painting for a princely sum of $200. She did another one shown below and it is due to be auctioned off tonight for charity.
There are 3 things I dislike doing on the boat: One is working on the engine, two is climbing the mast, and three is scrubbing the bottom of all the growth. If possible I will pay someone to do these tasks but here in Bermuda, where everything costs an arm and a leg and in this case $150 for a scrub, I decided to do it myself.
I tie ropes on both sides of the boat from bow to stern to pull myself along and stay in position and I use two main tools. One a stiff plastic brush which is useful for the soft green growth that grows especially near the waterline. The other tool is for the barnacles. I tried to use hard plastic scrapers, but I found they were just not tough enough and now I just use a three inch wide metal one. I don't like doing the task in many places because the water is either putrid or there are alligators, jellyfish or tiny fish that are attracted to the grime coming off the boat. Here in Bermuda the only problem is the occasional barracuda. The water here is clear, clean and warm and today there is not much wind.
This morning was the start of the Atlantic Rally to Europe called the ARC here in St George. Bermuda is the halfway point between the Virgin Islands in the Caribbean where many spent the winter and the Azores.
I had a grandstand view of the start of the 1800 Nm race for cruisers, almost all of which feature inmast furling mainsails along with the latest boating technologies.
After suspecting problems with my transmission, I decided to take a look at it.
I pulled it out but could not find anything wrong with it. I have a spare one that I bought 18 months when I had a problem with it slipping but I decided to stick with the one I am using. It is a hassle to get it out. You have to undo the 4 bolts on the prop shaft and then 8 bolts on the outside edge of the transmission all of which are rusty as can be.
As well my Trace charge controller decided to play up again today probably because of all the rain we had over the past 3 days so I had to run my generator for a couple of hours. I will have to take a look at getting a new one here on the island or shipping one here to me from the USA.
PostScript; After checking my fuel levels I worked out what the problem was. The engine died because of fuel starvation, not because of any transmission issue. I found that my Port fuel tank was empty and my starboard tank had 10 gallons left. The curious thing though was that when I undid the cap on it there was a "thunk" and a rush of sucking air which means that it was air tight. I was under the impression that there was a breather tube on it. I was able to calculate quite accurately as well, the rate of fuel that I had used on my way across. I did 78 hours of motoring at 2000rpm into a small headwind and used 55 gallons of fuel, which means I use about one gallon every 1.4 hours. Good to know.
I did order a replacement charge controller from defender. It was not quite the one I wanted because it doesn't have an equalization mode on it but I was able to talk to them and get it sent by FedEx which turns out to be very important if you want to get anything out of customs here on the island. Only time will tell. I had it sent priority and it is supposed to be here this week.
We have some really bad weather coming our way over the next day or two so I moved the boat here in St George, Bermuda, to get shelter from the prevailing southerly wind. I have a spider web of 11 dock lines with fire hose chafe protection at the edge of the dock. Wind is currently 30 knots increasing tonight along with thunderstorms and rain. Ugly! Doesn't look like I will be going anywhere anytime soon!
I'm sitting here in the most bermudaful place as they say here but there are things that I have to do. I took my torn Genoa to Doyle's to get repaired, and Atmaji who is from Indonesia helped fix it.
He wants to get a job as a sailmaker closer to his home but he says it is impossible to immigrate to Australia.
I also had to add a telltale to the top of the mast to show me the wind direction.
I climbed the mast and drilled 3 holes to be able to screw the bracket in and while I was up there took a photo of my bermudaful boat from the top.
I never get used to climbing up there and especially trying to juggle drill, screwdriver, spanner and windex while passing boats are waking you, makes it not the most pleasant experience although at least it beats doing it at sea when there is nobody else around.
The last chore was to put a protective plastic cover over my charge controller. If you remember last week it stopped working and I suspect somehow or other, it suffered from some saltwater intrusion.
I had the privilege of meeting the most amazing sailor who also has a Westsail here in Bermuda, not far from me. Eric is a spry 84 year old who has circumnavigated twice, the last time, 10 years ago going eastabout instead of the normal Westward way, going around Cape Horn and all the way down to Antarctica. He has been cruising for an incredible 52 years, takes no medication and has sailed through the Northwest Passage. There are some people, who you can listen to forever because they have such interesting stories to tell, and Eric has the gift. His crew was telling me a story of how tough he is. Apperantly he cut his chin just before they left Porto Rico, and he used superglue to stop the bleeding instead of getting stitches. He has a house in Brookhaven, Long Island and a green E-Type Jaguar that is his other passion. Anyway if you are interested in reading more about Eric you can go to his website at www.yachtfiona.com on the internet.