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_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Marcy home Walvis Bay Angling Club club AFASyn Ushuaia Marcy and crew

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Keeping us on our toes! Day 12 (Ginger) 05 03N 125 41W 1:00PM

It's hard to simulate 12 days of raucous ocean travel in a shake down cruise. So, there are a few items that have come to our attention in the last couple of days which have been taking up all of our time. Of course, in addition to keeping the boat afloat and moving keeping the crew rested and fed are extremely important. We've had so many projects in the last few days our sleep was suffering a little but we're eating well. (Thanks for the email Dan, tomato soup and cheese quesadillas hit the
spot during our stormy day!) We've now changed our course heading from north west (more west than north) to south west. When we reached the ITCZ - the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone - where the weather from the North Pacific meets the weather from the South Pacific - we altered course and headed due south. We spent almost 24 hours crossing that zone of light wind, rain and squalls. It was fantastic to finally get a great rain shower. We haven't seen that much rain since Seattle except for one
short cloud burst in San Diego.
We check in regularly with the other boats who left Zihua just after us and they're having some system problems commensurate with ocean sailing in the tropics. Two of the boats are having trouble with their auto pilots, one intermittent, one completely dead and hand steering the rest of the way unless they can fix it. The third boat had to rewire some connections to get his alternator back up and running. Marcy has had our share of challenges as well. Here are the systems that have kept us busy:
1. Hole in the water lift muffler 1" X 1/2" needed plug to run engine (I like this one - water in the bilge and all!)
2. Chafe on the self steering gear line -caught minutes before breaking (Thanks to Grasal we had a spare high-tech line - that would have been tough to fake!)
3. Low power due to cloud cover and item #1 (no engine for 4 days)
4. Alternator wiring corrosion (everything is affected by the sea air)
5. Rudder post lag screw working out and post coming somewhat loose at deck (My personal favorite)
6. New tack so item #1 can't be as efficiently handled by the bilge pump - used deck wash pump to drain stbd bilge
7. Uppity IPOD, not vital but sorely missed 2A - 6A watch
8. Chafe repair on preventer and spin pole lines, washer replace on boom (now we're getting back to stuff even I can do!)
When listed by number it hardly seems like much has been going on. The items were listed in order of appearance. The muffler repair was well under way when the other items appeared all in a 24 hour period. All have been patched, bolted, greased and handled. It was a busy time.
Leaving Zihua I expected trade winds 15-20 knots and pleasant travel. After several days of big winds and seas I feel like we went out for a drive, got sucked into the Indy 500 and escaped after lap 200. The trip to the ITCZ was an endurance test for all of us, Marcy included.
Our crossing of the ITCZ was almost uneventful. We got to 7N and 125W and were in a squall. That was our sign to turn left and get through as quickly as possible. We had fluky light winds and 5 squalls. The light winds were actually appreciated as we were hove to for 4 hours to fix the rudder post. Soon we were on our way and within 24 hours back in trade winds - this time the SE trades.
Pacific Seafarer's Net: We've been giving our position report and sea conditions to a Ham radio net daily. This information is forwarded by them to the Yotreps site where our position is updated for your viewing pleasure. Last night it was as if we were all sitting around a table talking and there were 6 land based relay stations and controllers. Tonight there was only one audible net controller to take positions for the Pacific Seafarer's Net and he couldn't hear most of the other boats well.
It's fascinating how radio conditions change from night to night. We have been able to communicate well with our radio and in fact I had to take the position of the boat Nereida the last 2 nights because I was the only one who could hear her. The net controller from Hawaii asked me to take check-ins from boats and relay much of the information to him for the position reports. This is a huge power draw so we're lucky to have the engine back for battery charging. The net is just like being at
the office and so satisfying to have a spreadsheet to fill in! I call the daily report my science project. Even though Peter is the licensed HAM radio operator on board the Net is during my watch so I get to check in under his call sign (KD7OKO). It's been really fun to talk with such professional net operators, definitely a highlight.
We're sailing at about 7 knots again and headed on a course of 220 true. If this wind holds at 15 to 20 knots we should be at the Marquesas in 8-9 days. It's great to be on port tack after 11+ days on starboard. It's a big change to get used to walking at these new angles. As all the old support spots are now down hill.

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