Monday, July 28, 2014

Underway Day 33 LightSpeed Sailing from Marshall Islands to North America

July 28, 2014 @ Noon boat time GMT -8 (UTC July 23 @ 2000)

Day 32 LightSpeed Sailing from Marshall Islands to North America

Day 20 at sea since our last anchorage at Bikar atoll, Marshall Islands.

Anchor position: 51 44.6418 N 176 49.8764 W

141nm day/3219nm trip total

Wind 23 @ 120T
100 % Cloud cover
1020 mbar
Air temp 47F
Sea temp 46F

Anchors away! And then I tried the windlass switch again and it still didn't work. We'd just made our way into the south arm of Three Arm Bay on the west side of Adak Island. The wind was a steady 25 and occasional blasts from screaming williwaws that made the rigging shudder and turned the surface of the small bay into a froth of white water. The anchorage was supposed to be a 'hurricane hole' according to another cruisers comment, but today with SE winds at 25 the anchorage frankly sucked. I was tired after only a few winks of fitful sleep on my off watch and all be damned, after exactly 19 days at sea the hook was going down. Except it wasn't and I let loose during a good dose of strongly worded sailor language into the biting rain laced wind, but the windlass was having none of it and the anchor hung omni potent from the bow. There's a waterfall in the bay that makes a good landmark and I nosed LightSpeed towards the shore, gave Kathy stern instructions to hold the boat into the gusting wind and then dove into the anchor locker to sort out the windlass. No problems there, so I dug into the binacle and found a corroded wire that broke in my fingers. A strong williwaw thundered down the valley and blew LightSpeed sideways and quickly toward the rocky shore in the small bay. I dashed inside and took the controls ramming one engine in full astern and one in full ahead and with the helm hard over, LightSpeed struggled against the furry of the williwaw blast and we swung the bows back into the wind and motored back to the waterfall. Making a repair in these conditions wasn't ideal, so I manually dropped the anchor feeding the chain out using the built in friction clutch to control the chain as it whipped over the bow roller in the hurling winds.

It was a bit of a gamble as the confines of the bay would require a rapid and solid set. Fortunately our Rocna 44 set immediately and I payed out nearly all 200' of our 5/16" chain and set the anchor bridal. Ohh, and I didn't mention that the blankety blank depth sounder was on the fritz and showing the water depth as --. Murky water, confined bay, screaming williwaw, limited visibility in misty fog, broken windlass control wire and the depth sounder was out to boot. Not good.

I gave the anchor a few minutes to 'settle in' and then backed down and the anchor held. I then got to work sorting out the control wire, which looked to be shot and too short to splice back easily. For the moment I just added some short bits of wire and connected them to the switch as a stop gap. A real repair could wait until after I had a hot shower, lunch and a nap.

All told we sailed 3219nm from Majuro in 521 hours or 21 days 17 hours

From Bikar atoll 2866 non-stop in 456 hours or exactly 19 days for an average speed of 6.28 knots.

We had a few exciting moments, like catching the marlin, nearly colliding with a sperm whale and finding a broken turnbuckle toggle just in the nick of time and running the insane pass a Bikar atoll. Overall it was a superb trip and an excellent adventure.

Now, it's time for that nap.

That's it for now.

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