05/22/2010, 41 nautical miles North West of Aruba
Enjoying a pre-dinner drink
It is 06.45 in the morning and I have just started my watch. I am sitting at the navigation desk with a cup of coffee having adjusted the course straight to Aruba's Northern point and trimmed the sails. Aruba is 88 nautical miles away and we are doing seven knots with the wind just aft of the beam; crossing a bluish / grayish Caribbean sea; the sun breaking through light clouds.
The combination of equipment failure and the beauty of the sea, and indeed sailing, is a lot what it is about to be cruising. We have had our fair share of all these during the last 24 hours. Sailing last night was awesome; flat seas, great speed, star filled skies with only small puffy clouds, the gennaker powering Queenie in a very sensual way. She is gorgeous! Sven and I didn't want to cut it short; so we stayed up very late enjoying the conditions, talking about everything and nothing, listening to music, enjoying some coffee and whiskey plus smoking a cigar.
At 04.45, I was woken up by a sound and small movement of the boat, which was followed quickly by Hans calling for me. The gennaker had been ripped again from the top to the bottom. We had no warning and there was no evidence that it had caught something. Hans was at the moment down below to write in the log how good the sailing was. Conditions were well within its capabilities with 16 knots of true wind and flat sea. It was never above 20 knots.
The recovery of the gennaker from the sea went very smooth despite being dark. We loosened the sheet and were able to pull the fabric back onboard and have lashed it to the guardrail to dry. It was the first time for a long while, we had flown it during darkness, but I don't think this contributed to our problems. We will see if it is worth repairing again or we need to replace it.
Hans wrote yesterday about our problems with charging the engine. Quite remarkable that both systems fail at the same time and this time completely unrelated causes. Last time we had failure of both main and back-up systems onboard was the autopilot / wind rudder during our Atlantic crossing, but as Hans pointed out, those problems were related as we caused the second breakdown trying to fix the first. The great satisfaction this time was though, that we got both systems up and running at sea with our own resources, albeit some input from the chief technical adviser on shore; Mr Anders Johansson.
The generator we sorted as Hans described it yesterday, but it was still leaking fuel into a small plastic box that needed to be emptied in quite complicated procedure once an hour. The engine charging problem was caused by a wire between one of the alternators and the regulator being caught by a belt and cut through; easy enough to sort out!
It is time for a spot of breakfast now. The rest of the crew is still asleep. The morning sun is shining in through the companion way and makes it difficult for me to see what is written on the screen any longer. So time to stop and enjoy this day's sailing before landfall tonight.