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Friday, April 22, 2011

A hectic week

It has been a very hectic week. The mast is vertical and where it should be. Rick stuck to his deadline and delivered a new two ply bullet proof main sail. We tried it on yesterday and, barring minor glitches which Rick sorted out before the day was over, it is perfect. There is no other word for it. He has exceeded my expectations in every way in constructing a strong and well shaped sail. Right after the new sail was bent we changed to the old dacron and took the boat out with Chris and James to finish tuning the mast. It was a good day – winds were calm while we changed the main and developed to a 15 knot breeze just outside the port which helped with the final mast adjustments.


Our departure immediately after Easter has met with a glitch though. The engine RPM is still not developing beyond 1000 while clutched in. Chris was quick to point out that it was incorrect pitch setting on the propeller. We immediately got in touch with Dave Barns of Action Yachting who had removed and refitted the propeller during the last slipping. The boat needs to be slipped again and the earliest date for it is the 28th.  That will be followed by motoring trials etc. 30th seems to be a more likely date now.


Chris tunes the mast off Cape Town



Rick tries out the new main

Saturday, April 16, 2011

More news

Good news and bad news, but there is news. Another week has passed by in Cape Town but this one surely left me exhausted- mostly because of cleaning the bilges. But we are definitely making progress. The shaft finally aligned to the engine and the boat got back a well refurbished mast and new boom. On the flip side, the engine refuses to rev up above 1000 showing a surprising disregard for the throttle. The new seal is tending to get a bit warm and we fear the water cooling is not adequate which might cause it to wear off like the previous one. Clive is planning to add a separate water injection system to cool the seal. That will happen next week.

The boat got her stick back yesterday, and a new boom with it. It was a bit windy at Elliott Basin but Chris and his team managed to get the mast in. The spartite seal is not fitting into its slot as neatly as it should and that is a concern because applying it fresh would mean that the boat needs to be immobile for a week. But if all goes well, the boat should sail out on Tuesday with a new set of sails for testing and tuning. I hope she does.

The AIS has been giving us a bit of a trouble soon after it was installed in Goa two years ago. It has been working more as a receiver than a transponder. We discovered today that the Antenna with its built in GPS is rusted to powder because of obvious reasons. With the help of Steve, we are putting up a plan (more of a matrix) together which involves the addition of a new standby VHF antenna (which will work as a standby in case the mast comes down), a new antenna to replace the present AIS antenna, and a labyrinth of wires to connect the AIS to the VHF antenna or its own antenna, and the VHF to its own antenna or the standby antenna.


Steak is a good bribe for James.




Chris manages well, despite the infamous South Easterlies


It was blowing a bit in Elliott Basin when the mast was shipped

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Work, work and lots of it

Work, work and lots of it. Changing the blackjack seal of the shaft, which was supposed to be a two day operations, is taking a bit longer than expected. Due to some very stubborn bolts, the coupling and the shaft had to be cut along with a bulkhead.

Enjoy the pictures, because it is useless to write about the frustration of being on land.

Back in our morring at RCYC. The calm is deceptive.

Back to the mooring at RCYC after a long sail. The calm is deceptive.


Removing the mast at Eliott Basin

Chris- very happy to have him work on our mast

I am very happy to have Chris look after the mast.

On the slipway - she needs a good paint job

Dry docked at RCYC slipway. The club has been of immense help to us. Besides hosting us for free, they have given us a free slipping too!

Mhadei holds a silent conversation with the Table Mountain. She has a commanding view.

Mhadei has a commanding view of the Table Mountain from where she holds a silent conversation with it every now and then. The South Easterlies speak a harsh language, but the boat seams to understand every word of it.

A clean prop

A clean propeller and…

The new blue bottom

… a new blue bottom

Thursday, April 7, 2011

First Post

Sounding the first post is not easy. One doesn’t really know how to begin writing about something that might turn out to be one very long voyage. I myself am not sure where it all began. Perhaps it is not important to write about such matters and anyone keeping an eye on this blog with sooner or later draw his own conclusions about the beginning. What I can concretely talk about is the present.

On 24 Feb, I entered Cape Town and moored at our usual berthing at the Royal Cape Yacht Club after an Atlantic crossing that lasted 28 days. With one sinking, one dismasting and various problems with many others in the fleet returning from Rio after the Cape to Rio Race it did not turn out to be a fairy tale of a crossing. We ourselves suffered two gashes in the main and a persistent leak in the propeller shaft seal. The main was changed at sea in an evolution that lasted seven hours and the engine room bilges were kept dry by pumping it out every six hours. In the 28 day crossing, we sailed upwind for about 15 days. It was tiring and frustrating but I managed to etch my initials in the South Atlantic.

By the time of her arrival at Cape Town she had completed 40000 miles of sailing which included a solo circumnavigation and various ocean crossings. A thorough inspection of the mast was now due and, on advice from Southern Spars, it was removed and sent to their facility for inspection. I suggested some minor alterations to the mast to make things simpler for my voyage. It is in the very safe hands of Richard and Chris and I have no worries as far as the mast is concerned.

To change the leaking seal in the propeller seal, Clive of Southern Marine was called in. The boat was slipped on 04 April but the two day operations has hit roadblock. The shaft wouldn’t come off easily because of which the flexible coupling, thrust block and the shaft had to be cut pushing our time on the slipway by another week. We decided to make use of this opportunity to clean and repaint the underwater hull and repair minor but long pending defects in the boat.

That is where things stand as of now. That is where I will begin to write about.