Position=Latitude-19*21’S- Longitude 102*55’W
Cabin Temp 71*-75*. Many squalls during the day but tranquillo overnight with lots of stars, including the Southern Cross
24hr. Run=15 NM.
Weather= Wind=8-18 kts S.E.
Cabin Temp 73*-75*. We have sailed clear of the cold Humboldt Current keeping Sailors Run a little warmer at night. This day was the sunniest and nicest day so far
Position=Latitude 23*03’S.Longitude 106*57’W.
Weather= Wind= 8-18kts SE
Total miles sailed so far=2210
Total Miles sailed the last 3-days=448 NM
Miles to go to turning point=103 NM.
Top speed so far=9.9kts.
Time to Easter Island about two days
The Rest of the Story.
“Mystery aboard Sailors Run”
I awoke from a sound sleep to the sound of a motor running. The sound was different from anything I had ever heard. I struggled to get clear of my berth, and glanced at the blank Radar on my way by. Climbing the companion way stairs I knock the cabin doors open with a “bang”, sliding back the hatch allowing me to get out in the cockpit, I peered into a pitch dark night scanning 360’ looking for lights of another vessel to find nothing, and outside could no longer here the motor.
Once back below I noticed it was still quiet so I crawled back in my berth. Suddenly there it was again, only this time I just wait and listened, and sure enough, it stops then starts again in about one minute. I thought maybe the refrigeration is going bad sounding different and cycling on and off. I climb out of the berth again and stick my head under the sink and listen to the refrigeration purring quietly along.
Now I’m sitting on the berth with my head between my hands thinking “What the Hell”. Once again the motor turns and suddenly a light bulb comes on in my head. I dive on to the cabin sole and lift the floor board over my fuel tanks, and sure enough there it is, sitting between the two tanks the automatic bilge pump I had installed for this trip over a year ago. Apparently when a large wave slammed into sailors Run it had forced about a quart of water back through the pump,that was now roaming around under the tanks, setting off the pump every time it got it wet, It turns on for about 12 seconds then shuts off until it is splashed again and never pumps any water out. Hmmmmm????
I go hunt down the fuse removing it and suddenly there is silence. No worry! I will continue to monitor the water level and if it ever comes up will get the pump back running. I also have a high water alarm just in case I forget to check.
I’m sure you have all heard of Cannibalism being a survival technique aboard ships that remain out to sea just a “little to long”. It was also quite common among many of the South pacific Islands.
Well I’m sure I to will soon become a Cannibal as just about everything I will be eating will come from a can. It really isn’t much different than being a vegetarian. The one slight difference is the canitarian needs a can opener;”that’s about it”.
Putting a line out for catching a fish is starting to sound like a good idea.
After two weeks I’m still on the first 75 gallon tank of water, when that goes dry it will be time to start up the water-maker.
The sailing over the past two weeks has been some of the very best I have ever experienced, sailing fast along the course line. Just a reminder this voyage is unassisted meaning no motoring and no outside help.
I do weather by receiving weather faxes on the long range SSB Radio along with grib files and weather descriptions about what is happening in my area.
“High Seas Drama Aboard Sailors Run.”
It all started about 10:30am when I decided to run the motor to circulate the oil and get the moisture out of the engine. I started the motor taking it out of reverse and leaving it in neutral, this allows the prop and shaft to spin freely. After 20-minutes I shut the motor down, and as I went below I felt a strange vibration and could hear something spinning and rubbing, and it sounded like the shaft which should be impossible as I had put the transmission back in reverse locking the shaft.
I immediately tore into the outside locker clearing out all that was stowed there to gain access to the shaft below decks.
“Holy Shit”!! The shaft had come free of the coupler and was spinning madly about as we were sailing at over 7-knots. Now unattached to the transmission it was really wobbling and had tried to slide out of the boat but was stopped by the rudder, that was now currently being eaten by the whirling three blade prop. I grabbed a 15-foot length of 7/16inch line and secured one end to some frame work below putting five wraps around the whirling shaft and synched it down, just barely enough to stop the shaft from turning. Next I activated the electric high volume bilge pump as a large stream of water was coming in around the packing gland on the shaft. Next I went on deck and rolled in the Genoa sail and dropped the staysail the other forward sail and hove to under main and mizzen slowing the boat speed down to about two knots.
I worked feverously to separate the coupling hoping to find the nut that had come off the end of the shaft and the key that locks the shaft to the coupling. Once the two halves were separated I found the nut but the key had obviously vanished into the flooding bilge that was only kept under control by going and turning on the pump every ten minutes. I could not slow the flow of water until I once had the shaft back in the coupler attached to the transmission, there by locking it down.
I got my extendable high powered magnet and went fishing in the bilge for the missing key, for the keyway. On my second try I was relieved to have come up with it and it looked to be in good condition. I slid the coupler down the shaft and over the key then screwed the nut on the end of the shaft by hand tightening as far as I could turn it before getting a socket to tighten it.
I won’t even go into how hard it is to get at the large socket set, just believe it takes time. I gathered up the three most likely sockets to fit the shaft nut and was real disappointed to find that I did not have a socket to fit the nut.
This was even more unbelievable as I had installed this new shaft made in Argentina and tightened that very same nut 6-years ago. I could devise no way to get anything in the hub other than a socket to further tightening it. So I reassembled the couplings placing the four bolts back in them to secure the coupling.You cannot even imagine the feat that was, pulling the shaft up to the transmission lining up that first bolt and getting the nut on the end of the bolt, as all the time the shaft wants to pull away and turn if you don’t keep a firm grip on it. After way too much time that was as right as I could get it, and then I had to take the stuffing gland apart and add more Teflon stuffing around the shaft. Once the gland was tightened the water flow was stopped I could take several huge deep breaths.
This entire drama from start to finish took over 5-hours, and my body ached and hurt afterwards. All that work had to be performed hunched over in a confined space working below the level of my feet.
Going onward I have a less than perfect fix due to the missing socket. I have decided that if I want to run that engine again in the future to dry it out I will have to go below and tie off that shaft so it cannot spin. I don’t know how long I could motor before the nut might vibrate off, it could be five minutes or five months but I don’t want to find out. I would tie the shaft off temporary permanently but if suddenly I needed that motor to avoid impending doom I at least want to be able to try and power the boat.
Looking forward to “better day, The Jefe’