Today is our fifth at sea. It is now 1600 hours, wind is 15-20 knots out of the north, down somewhat from the 20-30 knots we experienced the first three days. Our current position, which is 23 degrees north latitude, is still 420 nautical miles (NM) from the equator.
Sailing conditions have been perfect, albeit a bit taxing due to high winds and seas the first few days. We have averaged 185 NM per day, almost 8 knots, which is fast for using just our mainsail and #3 jib.
Mechanical problems have been minimal, but they were both serious. First our diesel generator mentioned earlier was not fixed by bleeding the air from the cooling system. A sat phone call to the owner’s mechanic in Marina Del Rey raised the possibility that fuel from our day tank, into which we transfer fuel from the two large main tanks, might not be feeding the generator due to its low level. Further investigation revealed there was no lift pump, surprisingly, between the generator and the day tank, and they were on the same level in the engine room. We simply topped off the day tank, and the problem was resolved.
On our second day out, I noticed the jib’s attachment to the bow had broken. The custom pin holding it down had backed out and been lost. After several trips to the bow in big seas, securely tethered to the vessel, I finally effected a permanent solution, the details with which I will not bore you. As my son Travis says, “If you don’t fix it at least twice, it’s not yachting!”
Meals on board have been exceptionally good, as “EXcape” has a large freezer stuffed with chicken, fish, meatballs, and other staples that go bad within 4-5 days in normal refrigerators. The boat is so packed with food, we haven’t even started fishing, because there is no room to store our catch. We still have a few fresh vegetables, but today will mark the end of our daily chef’s salad lunches. Travis and I rotate dinner preparation, Arnstein does lunches. Carl volunteers to “faire la vaisselle,” i.e., clean up. Our 4 on, 12 off watch schedule allows everyone plenty of sleep, a welcome change from “Nor’easter’s” 5/5 regimen, where we were both in perpetual zombie-like dazes on long passages.