Friday, June 15, 2007

It's been a busy day.

First off, Captain Lindsey sends this note to Gabby:

Gabby, I would love to see you in Long Beach. Keep your eye on the blog so you'll know when we're coming in. My race starts on the 9th of July. Give my love to Bunny. LG

Yesterday, Donna noticed that the halyard on the radar reflector was chafing badly. So that led to an all-hands exercise to get the reflector down and replace the halyard. It took a little work with the boat hook for Bill to get it unsnarled. My contribution was to notice that the reflector apparently has a pair of circular guides (like smooth washers) in the middle, perhaps to lead the halyard through the middle of the reflector with no danger of chafing. As opposed to most installations I've seen, including my own boat, where the halyard goes down beside the reflector, leading almost inevitably to chafe.

Today, the dodger took a direct hit from a huge wave. The wave came through the front right corner, blowing the whole window inwards, destroying the two big zippers and tearing a gash along the upper edge. Then, like a giant wet cannonball, it blasted away the left side panel too. That panel disappeared overboard and out of sight before anyone knew what had happened. In the process, this wave filled the cockpit to overflowing, leading to some wetness below. The computer was completely spared, but my bunk got sprayed a little. It's OK, I wasn't in it, and I was already wet anyway. Since the dodger frame is normally supported by the tension of the fabric, and the fabric is now shredded, the whole thing was a limp mess. So Bill and Lindsey rigged some guys from the dodger frame to the traveler anchors. The shredded dodger continues to provide some protection from wind and spray, but anything solid comes right through. I'm afraid we'll be wearing our foulie tops on deck pretty much all the time from now on, especially if we plan to spend any time under the dodger.

But things could be much more uncomfortable. Take Richard for example. We talked to him again today. He's about 80 miles ESE of us, aboard his J-35 Addiction en route to Long Beach, without any dodger at all. Oh, and a total crew of two. Oh, and his cutlass bearing just went out. So, they're very wet and extremely tired, and cannot propel the boat with the engine. The good news is that they can run the engine to charge batteries, and there's lots (!!) of wind to keep his boat moving fast. We think he's actually slightly closer to Long Beach than we are. His 0900 position was: 28N16 152W42. He was moving north at about 7 knots.

Back here on Cirrus, Lindsey happened to look at the jib furling line and notice that, holy cow, it was almost completely chafed through. Fortunately, due to the strong winds, we had the jib completely furled at the time, so there wasn't much pressure on the line. But a loose jib would be a disaster, so something had to be done quickly. So she and Bill found a way to use a sail tie to lock the furler drum down until we could replace the line. Later in the day, Bill found a brand new chunk of line and got it installed pretty easily. I say easily because all I had to do was pus buttons on the autopilot; he's the one who had to crawl up to the bow and kneel in the pulpit with the boat flying over big swells like a blue whale. Most importantly, he remembered to remove the sail tie locking the drum. The next time we use the jib, which should be in a few minutes now, we intend to keep a close eye on the furling line to see what's causing the chafe.

What else? Oh yeah, one of the hinges (plastic) on the toilet seat broke on one of the previous deliveries. I guess that happens when the boat inverts with someone on the head. Anyway, we had been living with it, being extremely ginger. Then Bill mentioned today that he had fixed it with duct tape and cable ties. I had a tough time believing it, but after a close inspection, I have to agree that it's probably better than new now. Still, that's a critical part, so I think somebody needs to go shopping for spares in Long Beach.

Oh yeah, speaking of the autopilot, while Bill was changing out the furling line, I was driving the boat downwind to keep her somewhat flat when the autopilot remote control screen went blank. All the buttons still work, but it's pretty tricky to do anything complex with no display. We do not know what the problem is, but since we had pizza for lunch (thanks Donna), the oven was on anyway, so the remote is now in the oven. If the problem was water infiltration, it might come back. Otherwise, hello Raymarine.

I don't know what will happen tomorrow.

Current position at 1415 HST;
Lat: 28N21
Lon: 154W17

fair winds, ...

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