Saturday, January 10, 2009

Back on SAN5

About an hour ago we felt a bit of a bump as we crossed from Adm 4105 back
onto SAN 5 ! After the disappointment of Fred throwing a wobbly, he settled
down, and has continued faultlessly so far. Very puzzling.When he first
failed yesterday, I turned of the instruments, and re booted. The auto pilot
motor made a strange ''running but not getting anywhere noise". That is when
I turned it off again, and checked the Hydrolic fluid level again. If
anything, it was too full, as some oozed out as I undid the tank plug.
Either there was a remaining airbubble in the system, or else I overfilled
it. As there seem to be no guidelines on fluid levels , or bleeding
precedures, I cant discount these as possible reasons. All over the pump
there are specs giving max psi levels etc, but thats of no bloody use to me
out here! But perhaps, with the heat of running, and a remaining airbubble,
or too much fluid, it exceeded its precious psi limit, which was released
when I opened the plug! Its worked fine ever since!
My tillerpilot to trim tab design was a failure. In principle it should
work, but I think I've got the lever lengths wrong, and have no means of
changing until we reach port. However, I intend to remount the Tiller pilot
as originally intended, driving the auxiliary tiller directly. With the
genset and tools on board, this can and will be done. I might have to
disconnect the wheel cables, and load additional bungee on the weather helm
side to assist, but I feel happier now that I have a plan B. ! We would
still prefer to make for Angra dos Reis, but we need feel to satisfied that
Fred is up for it! We therefore intend to continue towards Salvador for at
least another three days, to make sure , and will re-assess then!
Meanwhile, apart from the autopilot hiccough, it was a dream blue water
cruising day! Having been broken up by three fish ( we were going too
fast!), I eventually landed a 20kg Tuna. We had lighltly seared tuna steaks,
with wasabe, pickled ginger, rice and a chinese salad for lunch, and have a
further 20 tuna meals packed in the freezer!When Mary came on watch in the
evening she enjoyed a full moon visitation from a school of spotted
dolphins( much smaller than our dusky's). During my 9-12 watch, a sooty tern
landed on the radar dome, and hitched a ride for the night ! He seemed quite
at home with us looking at him, and the flash photos never phased him!During
the night, the wind had dropped to a miserable 7-8 knots, and we furled the
genoa to stop the flogging, but we still managed a 132nm noon to noon day,
and are currently goosewinged in pos 10.02S, 18.49W, at 16.00 RSA time,
with Fred still at the helm, making 5.5knts. We are missing the faster and
more comfortable reach down to Rio,but are happy enough to be making safe
and sure progress towards Salvador at this stage, and keeping our fingers
crossed ! Any technical advice re Freds ailment ? Till later!

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