Day 19 – Wednesday
Hot Ice Stars! Yes we finally saw the stars so clearly like you could reach up and grab one. The sky was clear and the moon was resting for the first time since we set sail on Hot Ice. It is a glorious sight. There are so many more stars that you can see in this uncluttered environment. We saw what looked like pockets of clouds very high up in the night sky. Are they far away galaxies or what? I sat enchanted for quite some time in absolute silence. Ooooh!
Our evolution continues, as we have learned to stoop naturally as you walk through companion ways and doors. After two weeks of head bumping I think we are nearly there. In order to get from one place to another you need to walk like monkeys in trees swing hand over hand ensuring you are attached to the boat at all times. In rough seas we either leap at the next handhold or in chameleon style slowly, slowly aim for our next grip while waiting for the ideal roll of the boat to lurch forward. There were many a time early on in the trip when we flew around the cabin or deck before mastering the technique.
It is amazing the adaptability of the human body and mind. After thinking that I would never be comfortable on board, I find myself being able to sit on half a bum cheek at an angle while being rocked from side to side without even noticing or falling off the seat. My elbow and shoulder pains from sleeping at strange angles I no longer notice unless I think about them.
We sailed west yesterday in 10 to 15kts and made steady head way although still not as fast as the average we need to maintain to make the cut off. The good thing is that we are still in touch with quite a few other yachts and we are further north where we hope the wind to be. Time will tell. After much thought and goatee pulling we made a plan with the spinnaker pole and got it back out so that we could wing. It was quite exercise in logistics to get it into place trying at all times to avoid any danger to ourselves. We have continued to sail like this for now. It would be quite interesting to see us getting it down in a hurry though, if some large gale blew through.
As usual after a day of not ideal sailing from a wind point of view, our thoughts go back to being able to start the motor in case we realize it’s impossible to make the cut off, which we know is getting more and more unlikely under wind. So began a 3 hour exercise to solve the problem. As we have a burnt out start motor and it’s been removed, it was decided that maybe we could pull start the motor by attaching a rope to the fly wheel. Believe a 100 hp motor has quite a lot of compression to pull through. With the more technical team of Mark, Mike and Warwick attaching the rope to the fly wheel and the muscle team of Shaun, Kevin and I pulling. The idea was to try and pull it at first and see if we could even get it to move. Well we did! The issue was that our arms were not long enough to pull continuously for long enough to turn the wheel through 2 or 3 compressions to start the motor. The next idea was to try and run with it in one motion, through the cockpit and out the door.
We realized that this was not such a good idea when we all landed in heap on the floor. There was just too many things in the way to do this smoothly either. We needed to attach it to some sort of pully system out through cockpit roof and high up onto the mast or boom and then through a block. We would then attach a heavy person to the end and they would jump. Shaun and I were wondering who they were thinking of with this suggestion. Fortunately for us it was decided that we were not that desperate yet and in the interest of damaging Hot Ice further, this idea was to be parked for now. Mark and Mike then looked at second engine to see if we could take the starter motor out and install it on the motoring engine. Again, the prognosis was that it was a difficult job. So the positives are that we now know what does not work and what might work and some sort of the idea of the risks attached to each alternative. At least it keeps us busy J As a results of our engine endeavours, no supper was made and everyone just snacked. We did manage to play T- Rex though. I keep visualizing Megaguru as some sort of cuddly dinosaur rather than a heavy metal band member! Ah, you will have to listen to it now!
To the family of Any Dove who passed away suddenly yesterday the crew of Hot Ice send our condolences.
From the mechanics on Hot Ice, till tomorrow….
Position [19 26 S 17 44 W]
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January 23, 2014 @ 2:31 pm
Glad things are picking up wind wise and comfort wise; or at least the perception thereof!
I would pay to see the video of you, Shaun and Kevin running through the companion way with the starter rope. I reckon it’d go viral!
January 23, 2014 @ 3:41 pm
Well well done Rob – you are a braver man than I could ever be. I take my hat off to you.
All the best for the rest of the trip – glued to your blog – is there any live feed?
January 23, 2014 @ 6:28 pm
stupid land luggers question: can’t you attach the anchor to the rope and drop it to turn the fly wheel?
January 23, 2014 @ 8:29 pm
How many people can say they have crossed the Atlantic on sail alone? All this hard work and time out there I don’t think you want this story to end with a motorised finish. Keep at it! Imagine the stories!!!! 🙂
@Kim – nice suggestion btw!
January 23, 2014 @ 8:32 pm
I can say it now that you’re on song but Pinetown boys don’t get sea sick! 🙂
It’s time to teach the crew some of the Pinetown Rugby songs.
‘Beggar boys are two and six, for they….’