Forget about time

Written by David Townsend

20, May 2007

Position 10°03’098S 110°59’194W

South Pacific Ocean.

Hi dear friends, thank you for following my journey. Here is this week’s update.

A beautiful week with no sightings of any vessels for the past twelve days, no sight of any sea birds for ten days. All in all, a nice peaceful chill out time onboard.

Life Onboard:
Firstly an update on the crew that had to abandon ship last week, they are safely ashore. However on Monday night a sailing vessel spotted flares, they went to investigate, also trying the V.H.F. but nothing was found. There is also no news on another vessel which has failed to make contact now for the last eight days, we hope it is down to an electrical / radio problem.

The main armada (sailing vessels on-route to the Marquises) is 250 – 350Nm to the North of me. I have followed the traditional sailing route, most other vessels motored for 48 hours from the Galapagos then motor / sail whenever the wind drops off. I decided, like always to sail, I do not like the idea of using up two thirds of my fuel up so early in to a voyage. You never know what’s going to happen so I like to keep it until I really need to use it, 3,100Nm is a long way!

Tuesday 15th, was a favourite day of mine. Not necessary a Tuesday you understand but the fist day of a voyage I make my own bread, the smell, straight out of the even, crust cut off, covered with butter, it just cannot be beaten.

Nearly all the fish has been eaten so it is once again time to restart fishing.

I thought I would outline my day here;
Firstly forget about time, I use the sun to guide me for I am travel across time zones. When the sunrises, time for a cup of tea, breakfast and fishing line out, half an hours guitar practice, one hours writing. Midday, sun directly above, lunchtime and a movie show, this weeks re-run include such films such as ‘It’s a wonderful life’, ‘The Cane mutiny’, ‘Tomb Raider’ etc. Followed by one more hours writing then half an hour’s guitar practice. Just before sunset, evening meal and fishing line in. A few hours topside listening to music and watching the stars turn in around three hours after sunset for one hour. Awake one hour later for about fifteen minutes; check ship, radar then turn in for another hours sleep. Repeated sleep pattern for three to four periods then up a few hours before sunrise, topside to watch the sunrise.

The Boat:
The port aft inner shroud has six wires starting to unwind and being released from the swaged eye, which connects to the bottle screw. Although not as serious as when I lost the forestay back in October 2005 it does mean I have to take it easy.

I have backed Pinta down to around 5kn sailing under the Genoa only, previously we had been doing 9kn and covering 168Nm a day, we are now doing around 100Nm a day.

The reason I am only using this simple, the shroud effect connects half way up the mast and is the main support shroud. Of the other two shrouds, one connects two thirds up the mast while the other to the top. With the main sail deployed the inner aft shroud takes most of the strain whilst under the Genoa most of the stress is on the other two shrouds.

I hope to get my shore support team to contact the rigger in Tahiti to see what fittings they have, if appropriate I will make running repairs there. If not I will get the parts sent out from the UK. It will only take my 30 minutes to repair the shroud using ‘Sta Lock’ fittings.

Mean while, I am using the swaged eye that is on one end of the old forestay. I have bolted this to the fixing which the bottle screw is connected too, then laying approximately 50cm of the wire alongside the current shroud I have used six bulldog grips to join the two wires together. The thinking is that should it completely go this would take the strain rather than just letting the wire ‘ping’ and, well who know.

Early Saturday morning as I was running the engine to charger the batteries the alternator belt broke, the engine was too hot to work on so I left it until daylight. One problem though, the belt in the packet is smaller than the size stated on the packet, smaller by around 2cm.

This and the sea presented an interesting little problem, problem one was standing, kneeling or whatever without being knocked over, the second would fitting the belt for I could not fit the belt with the alternator in place, I had to remove the alternator, fit the belt then try and refit the alternator. I was unable to fit the bush on the rear of the alternator-mounting bracket so the hole the bolt goes through had a little play. To stop any movement I filled the space with liquid metal then tightened it all up, this worked fine and there is no movement, not ideal but a workable solution.

I will find some new belts when I arrive in Tahiti.

Fair winds and calm seas.