Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Trials at Sea

Last night around 10:30 I was sitting on watch and Steve was sleeping below when a large wave broke coming onto the boat and hitting the stern. I heard the Monitor wind vane rattle and went back to make sure that the steering was all right. One of the steering lines had broken and come out of the guide tubing. Steve came up into the cockpit, we began to hand steer and get the boat hove to or stopped. Steve then had to tether himself to the boat and climb over the rail and onto the Monitor frame so that he could feed the line back through the guide tube. While he was doing this, the waves were causing the stern to go up and down forcing Steve to get dunked up to his waist. He was able to feed the line back through and then connect the line back to the steering wheel.

In order to pull the boat out of the hove to position, we decided to start the engine. You guessed it--it wouldn't start. We had run it earlier in the day to charge the batteries so we had no idea what the problem was. Steve went below to check the engine and found that there was salt water in the engine oil. He found that the sea water had filled the crank case. He changed the oil, and when we tried it, the engine did start. We ran it for a few minutes and then shut it off. He then took the hose off the water muffler and plugged the exhaust pipe. We think that the following seas and large waves caused the problem. He will change the oil again tomorrow to see if it will run again and check it out completely. Hopefully, that will take care of the problem.

We waited for dawn and then poled out our jib so that we could balance the sails a little better. That took another hour since we had gusts up to 23 knots, a rolling deck, and were pretty tired. When that was done, the boat settled down a bit and the Monitor was steering well. Unfortunately, the northwest winds that were forecast (great for us) did not materialize, but northeast winds did (not so good for us). That means a very rolly downwind ride.

I have to say that Steve did all this work last night after having slept only a few hours over the past few days. He was finally tired enough to really get some sleep, but it was not to be. His ability to fix a problem and keep at it until it is finished, no matter what, amazes me. The good news is that despite our setbacks, we are making very good time. Now we will just have to wait to see if the winds might shift more in our favor. We will be optimistic.

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

No comments: