Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Up the Mast

Monday, April 2: Day 10 of the Pacific Passage. It is slow going and we get excited when the boat goes 4 knots. We are ecstatic when we hit 6 knots. Our current position (as of 2212 zulu) is Latitude is 04 degrees and 17 minutes south and Longitude is 97 degrees, 14 minutes west. Our destination to Hiva Oa is 09 degrees and 51 minutes South and 138 degrees and 46 minutes West. That means we still have a long way to go.

When at sea, especially a sea with swells and waves, you don't want to make the trip to the top of the mast. But things do break and sometimes, if those things that break are ON top of the mast, you have to go up to fix them. As you've read, the wind has been anything but consistent either with speed or direction. So, of course what broke, was both our wind speed and wind direction indicators. The electronic one allows us to sit comfortably in the cockpit and look at an instrument to determine which way the wind is blowing and how fast. This then allows us to adjust sails – and it is especially nice to have at night when simply looking at the sail is difficult. The other is a basic mechanical wind indicator that is like a windvane and moves as the wind blows it. Both stopped working at the same time...so we had no easy way to tell direction for tweaking sails.

On a "relatively" calm day, Michael decided he'd go up to have a look. This requires Barbara to hoist him up with a halyard and winch, while he sits in a bosun's chair and goes for the ride. Of course, the mast is moving and the higher up he went the movement was greater and greater. He had to secure himself to the mast to keep from flying off and swinging like a Flying Wallenda. He took apart the electronic one (don't buy Navman/Northstar) and it must be something in the sender that is broken because everything else seemed good. The manual "windex" just required a re-bend – it seems a big frigate bird must have made our mast top home for a bit. He was going to check on some other things – but the roll got worse and worse and he got greener and greener. So down he came.

Another adventure completed and he's hoping not to have to head skyward again soon.

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