Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Pangaea, 1.3.2005

POS: (Position) 25deg 09.0N x 24deg 0.0W
COG (course over ground): 255 deg
SOG (speed over ground): 7.5KN
DTW (distance to waypoint - Tobago): 2249
SAILS: Main, double-reefed; Genoa, full
DMG (distance made good, 24 hours): 172

OK, folks, if you can plot this, you'll see that we're boogying along pretty
well, having come about 340 miles in the last two days on a double-reefed
main and a full-set genoa. At this moment, the wind has taken a bit of a
dump, and turned a bit north, now pretty much due east, leaving us running
closer to dead downwind than we like. Since the wind came down, the seas, of
course, have come up - leaving us wallowing more than we have since we left
La Restinga - or during any passage we've made so far.

The Aries windvane self-steering, though meant for a smaller vessel, works
very well, although it needs minor readjustment every half-hour or so. This
is easy enough - just a tug on one of the pawl lines, a click or two, and
she's good to go again. We're not quite sure why it needs to be adjusted -
we took the whole system apart and cleaned it, thinking there might have
been too much grease on the big ring gear that sets the head position, but
it doesn't seem to have made a lot of difference, if any. We'll do some more
testing over the next couple days. This is the first chance I've had to see
vane self-steering up close in action. It's such an elegant thing!

We had a chafe problem with the port-side jib sheet which we fixed (turned
the sheet around and covered the anchor windlass with the Tinker inflatable
so the sheet doesn't get caught under the windlass brake handle). Now the
starboard-side sheet has started chafing against the sidestays, and just
about the time I saw that, I noticed that the port-side sheet has come
un-hitched from the genny, and lost its chafing gear into the bargain. Achim
wants to leave the whole mess until we have to jibe. I'm a little nervous
about losing the starboard sheet, but we're keeping the boat on a course
that should prevent any further serious chafe. Worst case is we'll have to
furl the jib (Harken roller furling) and deal with it at an inconvenient
moment. Achim's choices so far have erred on the side of safety, and his
judgment has proven good, so I'm not gonna fret about it. Otherwise the boat
inspires confidence and sails beautifully. And then there's the hot water...

The boat has been outfitted for long-term living aboard. Achim says they
wanted to have a comfortable apartment at sea, and with that in mind they
have managed to install some amenities that might raise the critical brow of
the more ascetic seadog. Such as: Erika has a breadmaker - and she's not
afraid to use it, either. I say this because it probably wouldn't have
occurred to anyone else on board that this might be possible. There is also
a washing machine and a dishwasher. These are mainly used when in port and
connected to shore power and water. And there is a shower - with full
standing headroom, and a water heater to keep it cozy in there. Water
heating is accomplished either by running the generator or the main engine
for an hour or so. The generator powers the 220V heating element in the
heater, the engine heats the water directly, since it's freshwater-cooled.

There are three sources of 220V power: The usual shore power, an inverter
and a diesel generator. The generator is mounted on deck, this decision
based on Achim's experience working on a commercial vessel which had its
generator in the engine room. You want your generator to be able to supply
power to pumps and things in the event your main engine goes offline for
some reason, and in this case there was a collision which resulted in
flooding the engine room, transforming both engine and generator into large
and rather expensive lumps of inert metal, neither of which could pump their
way out of a wet paper bag.

Erika and Achim are, in my humble opinion, heroes of the marginal, role
models for the edge dweller. I don't know the exact percentages, but guess
that a majority of the equipment on board was not brought home all new and
shiny and in the original box from the showroom at WestMarine. Combing the
seedy hair of dumpsters and junk yards, filtering the bright pixel-flow of
secondhand stuff through the sluicebox of E-Bay, bright nuggets of perfectly
good stuff have been discovered, or rediscovered, and enlisted into service.

OK - I'll sign off for now, otherwise it'll be tomorrow's old news you get.
More to come. You can reply directly to this note with questions or
comments, you can also check out the "live update" blog by going to
www.pangaea.to and clicking on the "latest" link. There you'll also find
pictures and reports of recent events.




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