Light winds

Written by David Townsend

8, April 2007

Position 05°39’215N 080°43’303W

220Nm out from Panama Canal

205Nm off Colombia

664Nm off Galapagos Islands

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

Firstly this week’s update is a little late, I have had light winds for the past 36 hours and so have been hand steering during that period.

Life On-board:

I took my crew to the airport on Saturday morning after spending a relaxing week just chilling out around the Pearl Islands.

The wind, around 12kts had been blowing for a few days so I was surprised it was still with we. With this in mind as soon as the David. had taken off, so did I.

On leaving the Pearl Islands I had light winds, which increased to a nice 25kn, with a nice wave set running behind me we were doing an average of 8.47kn for the first 10 hours. However I spent five hours during this time working from the swimming platform trying to understand why the mechanical self-steering gear would not work as I had thought it should.

I had already emailed the designer some weeks previously and was told to put tape around one area so to reduce its travel. This I duly did but to no avail.

The next morning, Sunday found me working over the stern trying to find a solution, after awhile I had an idea however I was interrupted and had to cut my work short. A shark had come swimming down the starboard of Pinta then turned inboard and submerged. I quickly removed my feet from the water and returned into the cockpit. Revenge from the shark community I wondered, after all I had eaten quite a lot of shark ‘n’ bake during my stay in the Caribbean.

Taken no chances I delayed my work until later, this was delayed further when an hour later another shark came by doing the exact same thing.

Whilst confined inboard I came up with a solution to the steering problem, I quickly gathered some components, 45mm of flexible gas hose, a 50mm stainless screw (Thanks Dave P), some epoxy resin and a small stainless plate.

Minutes later I had a semi ridged ‘stopper’, this would be used to stop the ‘push – pull’ bar cog from over running. I connected it to the bottom connector on the ‘push – pull’ bar so to extend and hit the main support should the cog try to overrun. He presto, about 20 minutes later and with some wind it was working, a simple but workable solution.

Not this time Mr Shark (laugh)

Due to the fore mentioned light winds I had not managed to catch any sleep, last night, although again light winds I used the electronic auto pilot whist I slept 30 minutes every other 30 minutes. There are know ships in this area and once confirmed by radar I slept in the cockpit however by 11:00hrs (GMT) Pinta’s batteries were exhausted; I am now running the engines whilst carrying out the repairs mentioned below.

The Boat:

The booster pump on the water maker failed on Saturday, this was removed and stripped down a few hours ago. After a clean up and re-spray, for which I am waiting for it to dry before reassemble, then I shall know if I was successful in its repair.

I have also repaired the damage suffered by the freak waves to the bimini, I have stitched some leather patches in areas which were starting to rub on the underside of the solar panels.

Fair winds and calm seas.