Passage to Fiji – part 3

Saturday 1 June (continued)

Late in the afternoon the wind direction changed so we furled the main and started running downwind on the genoa alone.   By the time we had eaten dinner it had switched back so we pulled out the main (again) and reefed down the genoa for the night.   Immediately we picked up speed to 7+ knots and we were screaming along.   Was bumpy though as the seas built.

Sunday 2 June

The wind hovered between 15-23 knots all night and we had a really good run although it remained bouncy which is not an aid to good sleep for either of us.   In the morning it was clear that the swells had increased and it was another grey squally one with showers although there was at least a pretty sunrise.

We tried the engine and got the high temperature alarm again.   By this time Richard knew the results of the Champions League match and declared that everything had gone a bit Spursy!  Anyway, he left me running the boat in the cockpit while he went back down the engine hole.   He also checked the engine manual and I read Calder’s boat bible to see if I could help shed any light.  Obvious stuff like fan belts, coolant and impellers had already been checked numerous times.   Everything pointed to the sea water flow/intake so Richard started at the thru hull and worked systematically throughout the boat checking all hoses and couplings along with everything in its path like heat exchangers, water pumps all the way through to the exhaust.    At numerous points along the route he checked water flow levels all of which were good.   Finally at the exhaust he realised that the flapper had come apart and the following large sea may well be causing water to flow up the pipe so he tied himself on while I slowed the boat and he leant off the transom steps to replace it.   All done (he was a bit soaked and pretty fed up by this time) and we started the engine.   And it stayed on.   And it didn’t alarm.   OMG looks like it could have worked.   But I’ll reserve judgment for another day without problems (fingers crossed).    Richard’s reward was a hot shower and a pasta bake for tea.

During the day we also lost connectivity between some of our navigational units although they are all working individually.   So we know that they have not failed it is clearly a problem with the network itself.   It could be something simple like a cable coming loose or getting frayed during all the banging and crashing through the waves we have been doing.   But the brain is buried beneath lee cloths below and behind the port saloon so, as we still have access to all the information we need, it will wait until we get to Fiji.   It doesn’t matter how much time, effort and money anyone puts into a boat something always fails on an ocean passage.   Very frustrating but that’s life!    Our boat jobs list is growing again, sigh…..

During the night we had light winds 8-14 knots so just coasted along slowly running abaft the beam but not quite downwind as the waves were causing Morphie to roll from side to side.

Monday 3 June

Despite best efforts to keep the rolling to a minimum we found sleeping difficult, but at some point sheer exhaustion catches up!   

At 6am (shift change) we gybed across our rhumb line and are sailing under genoa alone downwind in light airs.   The wind is definitely switching and we anticipate south winds shortly then, as we near the islands, it will shift to the east which are the normal trades for the area. At this point in our passage we had done 795 miles, with the best 24 hour period racking up a 151.5 miles which, for us, is a record run.   There was also a fantastic red sky this morning.

The wind dropped to around 8 knots and the batteries needed charging so we started the engine.   Within 20 minutes we had a high heat alarm again.   Richard has done everything suggested in the manuals and we are flummoxed, so he has written an email to our mechanical guru, Bruce at Seapower in New Zealand, asking for advice on what else it could be and what else he suggests we try to resolve this.   We anticipate a Thursday arrival into Fiji so there is still some time to get this resolved.

In the middle of all this we had a pod of humpback whales pass by within 15 metres of us going down both sides of the boat.   But by the time the camera was to hand they had gone. They were very close to us and they certainly startled Richard LOL.   How amazing……

Bye for now