0801 UCT 70.14 N 170.47 E
Wind 16 east B Pressure 1016
Friday was a bit hairy – winds built to 27 knots, which is not terrifically high but in these shallow waters (100 feet) seas kick up without too much encouragement. Waves break early and short wavelengths conspire to create an uncomfortable situation. With Barrabas’s stability compromised by her massive fuel load, my concern alarm started ringing. I was carrying full sail with the headsail poled out. I took the headsail in, jibed the main and stopped the boat (this is the Barrabas version of a crash tack), took the headsail off the pole, dropped the main and ran with reefed headsail. It’s all about control – the feeling that the boat has control of the conditions. To boot the wind was from the northeast so the air was chill. I’ve managed 3-4 hours sleep in the last thirty but I seem to be able to get by on very little rest.
I’ve been concerned about belt tension on the alternator, which charges the batteries, so yesterday I devised a tensioner with two bits of wood, a bolt, a nut, a washer and some epoxy. I bonded the head of the bolt to one piece of wood then drilled a hole in the second piece to take the thread end of the bolt. By putting the nut on the bolt followed by the washer, I can screw the nut down against the washer against the wood and create a tension force. I then fitted the assembly between the alternator casing and the engine block and by turning the nut create a pushing force against the alternator and thus a tensioning force on the belt.
We are doing well in terms of mileage, averaging 106 miles per day against my forecast 70 so since departing Provideniya I’ve gained 200 miles. Barrabas has been under sail for 30 hours at time of writing, saving fuel. I kept her on autopilot, not expecting to be under sail for quite such a period but the autopilot sucks juice from the battery bank so this afternoon I deployed the Hydrovane self-steering with a new bigger and better balanced rudder which was sent to Nome. The Hydrovane is holding course perfectly downwind – in my experience its most vulnerable point of sail.
While I was Nome a goldminer and former fisherman told me that to waterproof their gloves, the commercial fisherman based on Kodiak Island smoother their gloves in silicone sealant. Sounds obvious I know, but I hadn’t thought of that. So earlier today I had a glove smothering session.
After that came bread baking. Perhaps it’s because I haven’t eaten anything for days bar the odd bit of chocolate but the bread with whipped butter and blackberry jam tasted pretty good to me.