THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. PLEASE READ OUR DISCLOSURE FOR MORE INFO.
We were hoping to leave yesterday for our trek across the Atlantic, but a low pressure system is forming in the North Atlantic and will be suppressing the trade winds through most of next week. Our options would be to motor (using up a lot of our diesel), drift with no wind (definitely no fun), or venture way south to find wind. Since we’re aiming pretty far north (the Bahamas), we really don’t want to add hundreds of miles to an already long trip if we don’t have to. So we wait. Such is the life.
What that does mean though is that we have more time to continue working on boat projects. We’ve both been busy working to further improve Starry Horizons and get her ready for our upcoming 3,000 nm+ passage. Here’s what we’ve accomplished:
We’ve rigged a “pull down line” that we will be able to use to help get the mainsail down if we continue to have problems dropping it in anything above light winds. In order to do this, I took out our 3rd reef line so that the pull down line could be run back to a stopper at the helm. I view this as more of a temporary fix as I want to evaluate better ways to handle the mainsail once we get to Florida, but hopefully this will help.
The other issue we’ve faced is twist in our main halyard, which is apparently a common issue with 2:1 halyards primarily, but the fairly cheap line used by the FP factory doesn’t help the issue. Amy hauled me up the mast and I untied the main halyard from where it attaches to the head of the mast and reattached it using a swivel. This is supposed to help combat twist so we’ll give this a try and look at replacing the halyard with better line later.
While I was up the mast, I also sprayed the entire track with a silicone spray, including all the batten cars, in an effort to make the dropping of the main as friction free as possible.
We bought two more blocks that will enable us to rig up the barber hauler on both sides of the boat. So now, rather than having to move blocks from one side of the boat to the other when we change tacks, all we’ll need to do is re-run the line. Much easier.
When moving on a boat full time, the number of things you have to learn about is overwhelming. While we were in La Rochelle, two of our air conditioners stopped working properly. Since we have four other ones on board, and had lots of other things to be doing, we just stopped using them until I could find time to look at them. We made it all the way down to the Canaries without them, and then once we got here, our port side air conditioners stopped working as well, and one of them gave me a fault code “Hi PS”.
With enough time to do research, I discovered that this code results from lack of water flow and sure enough, no overboard discharge from the AC while running. I looked online to see if I could find any more information about the pump used to supply water to the a/c units and it was slim pickings. So I figured I could at least try to rule out any blockages in the line as a first step. I opened up the strainer (subsequently all the water that was upstream of the system made an appearance in the bilge, which was anticipated but still not fun) and found that it was clean and opening up the thru-hull made it clear water could enter the system. So this left me stuck.
Fortunately, Paul at our dealer hadn’t left for Christmas vacation yet and told me that the pumps are magnetic driven fixed impeller pumps and as such can only pump water when the pump chamber is full of water. Any air in the system and you have problems. So he told me how to loosen the either of the hoses at the top of the pump, turn the pump on until water starts coming out of the hoses (signaling air has escaped), then tighten the hoses and voila, you have bleed the system. I got a lot of pushups in getting down to check water flow coming out the boat, but the process was a success!
Repeating this process on the pump for the salon air conditioners also got those working, so we went from 4 out of our 6 a/c’s not working, to having everything back up and running. In the end it was a fairly simple fix, but man it felt good!
While we were sailing down to the Canaries, we managed to ding up the gelcoat over our starboard engine compartment. It exposed a bit of fiberglass underneath, so I wanted to make sure we did a fix before leaving. I’d never attempted any gelcoat/fiberglass repair before, but fortunately the putty we picked up in France worked very well. Unfortunately, in spite the putty being labeled as “white”, it definitely doesn’t match the Fountaine Pajot white. But it will work for now, and if it bothers us enough, we can re-do it later.
Before leaving the States, Amy purchased a hammock that she wanted to use for storing produce during passages. Our first two were short enough that we didn’t need it, but it would be quite useful while crossing the Atlantic. She searched for quite a while to find the right place, and we’ve got it hung up out in the cockpit to give it a trial run.
Clean Boat/Polish Stainless
While out at sea, a lot of salt accumulates on the boat. And things start to rust, seemingly everything rusts… So when we got into port and had access to fresh water, I gave the boat a thorough scrubbing, and purchased some hull and stainless steel cleaner in order to polish all the stainless steel on board and clean up those little rust flecks that appear in random spots on deck. The boat looks much cleaner now, but I will probably do another once over searching for rust before we leave again.
Fix Drawer Track
Up to this point, we stored my tools in the drawer under the berth in the port aft guest cabin. I guess I’ve got a lot of tools because the track for the drawer broke. So first step was moving all my tools over to underneath the starboard side owners couch, and second step was taking apart the berth to get access to the track. A screw had come out of the track so it was quite simple to re-screw it, but man it took forever to move enough stuff to actually get to the track!
Amy had several issues keeping the burners lit while we were underway, so she took a much closer look at the stove, adjusted a few things, and now we seem to have a much more consistent flame on all the burners. Which is good in that it’s much easier to cook, but bad in that it means she can use more pots/pans and I have more dishes to do!
Provisioning for over a month at sea (we are hoping it won’t take that long, but we don’t want to starve!) is quite a process, and requires buying more items than you can carry in your arms. Fortunately, the big grocery stores here offer delivery services to boats in the marina. We filled up two shopping carts worth of dry goods and scheduled the delivery.
Unfortunately, our instructions of where our boat was located apparently didn’t translate very well because even though we said we were on “Tango” dock, they were unable to find our boat. They did try calling my US cell number to confirm, but with the bad internet connection here in the marina, it didn’t work well.
So I hopped on my bike and rode back to the store to try and figure things out. Between my bad spanish, a map I brought of the marina, and giving them our satellite phone number, we were eventually able to get the delivery completed. We still have a bit more to go (I don’t want to run out of Pringles again!), but we’re definitely making progress.
That covers the big projects that we’ve completed while here. There have been other little ones as well. The last big project on our (meaning Amy’s) to-do list before we can go is the advanced prep of meals. She’s off to a great start cause the boat smells delicious!