Day 20 – Thursday
“We are sailing! We are sailing! Stormy waters across the ocean, to be near you, to be free”. Today we woke up to the same light wind and flat seas that we are getting use to here. Originally we were hoping that tomorrow we would be sailing into Rio. How far from the truth! At least another 7 to 9 days in our estimation to be free!
After breakfast the mechanical team of Mark and Mike, continued with their effort to make get the start motor work to use if we run out of time and wind. They spent 5 hours stripping and cleaning it to see if it was salvageable. At one stage it sound like dentist surgery as Mark finely cleaned the wiring on the starter motor to try and stop it shorting.
Unfortunately it did not work and this idea has now been shelved. We also learned that our generator starter motor will not work on the engine so we are running out of ideas. So sailing maybe the only option in the end.
Our attention then turned to the spinnaker. When the spinnaker ripped we had discussed making it smaller and using the intact part but it had been left as an option that might work when we got to the bay before Rio which often does not have wind. Jean and Warwick got a sudden need to increase our speed and decided to explore the option. After much debate on the fore deck, they eventually roped Mark in and they cut off the foot of the sail up to the highest tear and after an hour or so had attached sheets to get it to fly. They hoisted it and for a while it fly and proud. Then it ripped again. In it came. A new conference ensued on the fore deck and couple of hours later after further cuts shortening the sail and after set of strengthening ropes were added from corner to corner they had it up again.
This time it flew and stayed up. We gained about a knot in speed especially in the light wind. Shaun, Mike, Kevin and I, who were doing more watching than assisting suggested that it should be taken down and kept for Rio but it was flying and giving us better speed and it was left up. Here was our secret weapon everyone joked!
Mike and I made dinner. It was a lamb and potatoes stew. It went down like a mole in a hole!
We continued west for the day and the evening in clear weather.
I was on watch from 10pm to 12pm in a beautiful starry sky again. The spinnaker was still flying.
Long Live the Spinnaker … till tomorrow…