OK - Got to Australia. Route from Singapore was across the top of Borneo to Kota Kinabulu (well, actually we also stopped in Labuan) then down to Ambon, across and through the Torres Strait and now in Cairns.
Absolutely horrible trip!! Rather than detail off the saga, below is a cut and paste of an email
I sent to my owner who, by the way, has been magnificent in support!
Leaving for a straight shot to Brisbane tonight - maybe another 12 or so days. No time for tourism I'm afraid.
Beginning of Paste
Singapore – Cairns (via Labuan, Kota Kinabulu and Ambon)
Several things broke and many have been replaced from onboard spares. In no particular order of occurrence.
: Main. Reefing lines broke several times. Two of them have to be retrieved from inside the boom (will do in Cairns). Currently only have one working reef line which is a pain in the ****.
Clew Cringle Steel
Ring. Broke open. So at the moment can only sail with first reef in.
Currently first reef line is semi-perm fixed as of course that is one of the reef lines in the boom!
. Jib Furling
Line broke, giving us a very much unwanted full genoa
(in rather exciting circumstances, howling gale, middle of the night, heading for a reef!! Only one engine
working at the time so had to get the sail down). It also pulled its guide ring out of the deck
. I've replaced the line but in the kerfuffle of getting the jib down, we let the halliard disappear through the top mast-head fitting. Will have to climb mast
, send down a messenger line and re-fit the halliard (will do in Cairns). The guide ring was badly positioned in the first place, giving a not fair lead to the turning block (which itself is slightly distorted as a result.) It will have to be re-positioned and the original fixation holes sealed to stop water
ingress into the fibreglass. The jib is currently hoisted by the Spinnaker
Halliard. Luckily it has not been spinnaker
: Have replaced both jib sheets
from onboard line. Main sheet and associated blocks and shackles. We've had continual problems with the Main Sheet arrangement from the Seychelles
so its been jury-rigged for the whole trip. Currently down to the last shackle on board which will fit! I only expect it to last till Cairns then will have to get stronger and correct fittings plus a couple of spares. The main sheet continually jumps out of its gripping jaws so one has to choke the luff to keep it in place.
Main Sheet Traveller: Starboard side line has reached the end of its useful life but I dont have the right size cordage onboard. We can live with it but also the end fitting pulley wheel
is also just about finished. Anno Domini, I'm afraid.
RIG. Remember that I thought the new Main was cut rather short? Well, I'm now beginning to think that when the mast
was replaced, the boom fittings were attached a few inches too low. This isn't completely Singapore's fault as Z Spars had a black tape where they expected the boom to go. As a result, the boom is much lower (MIND YOUR HEAD!) and the mast winches are also lower, making you skin your knuckles when winching anything up. Otherwise, its holding up and has proved itself in up to Force 9 with associated lumpy seas.
GOOSNECK. Not a brilliant job in Singers: The Vertical pin holding the boom to the mast was incorrect. The Horizontal pin is not the right size and incorrect washers fitted. As a result as it “works”, it is elongating its hole. We are doing what we can and being as gentle as possible.
FORESTAY. I noticed that a set screw holding one of the aluminium extrusions together had worked loose. On tightening it up, I noticed that some appear to be missing....another not so good job, Singers.
TRAMPOLINE. Nearly lost
it several times! The centre-line ladder with duckboards broke loose (weather conditions). We lost
the duckboards but managed to rescue
the ladder. The tramp holding rope
is broken in several places (age, again) but we've managed to get enough lashings on it to hold for the moment.
ENGINES/ALTERNATORS. As you know, we've had continual problems on both sides. One has to wonder why there were an inordinate amount of engine spare belts and voltage regulators onboard!!
Starboard: Now working OK. However, the fuel line from the tank (copper tubing) detached itself inside the tank which of course was invisible! You can imagine the head
scratching that went on whilst tracing the lack of fuel!! Currently using 5 gallon containers with the fuel line secured. This lasts about 10 hours before having to change out. Although a Pain in the ****, I actually dont mind too much as I can monitor
the fuel quality since I dont trust the main tank cleanliness! KK sorted out the water
pump pulley wheel
but there is no way of tensioning it. “McGyvering” it got us to Ambon where we puchased the island's stock of small belts! Actually the one we have on has held up very well! Electrically it is supplying the battery
bank and its voltage regulation is fine.
In the cockpit
, the Yanmar
Starter/tach panel has rotted out. Its clear that the port one has been replaced and its now time for the starboard one. However much we tape it up, any rain or spray gets in and so we have the alarm
continually on. Not “alarming”, its just shorting out....annoying.
Port: Engine is good but electrically its a disaster. External regulation failed after the first few hours of running so in the end we have taken the belts off and it is just a “driving” engine. It had also managed to fry its own starter battery
which suggests that voltage regulation from the small alternator
is bad as well. When required, we start it from the Starboard engine battery.
Rather an exciting time when the wheel jammed hard a Port! This of course happened in another howling gale at night with very little sea room to spare. It transpires that the metal bracket bolted to the steering
rod (this has a hole drilled into it to accept the autopilot
ram arm) had fractured and the ram arm was jamming up the works. The whole set up is behind a panel in the starboard aft cabin
. I managed to clear the jam and we hand steered for the rest of the night. Easily fixable if I had a spare piece of metal plate, a drill and a stubby screwdriver!
Wheel Pilot. Tried fitting it the next day and find that yes, it works, sort of, but its belt is stripped (easily replaceable but no spare onboard). On detaching it, its fixing (plastic) fittings broke (age) so, although mendable, currently unuseable.
We are managing reasonably successfully to balance the sails
and lash the wheel – enough anyway to be able to leap down to the head
for a quick pee. But often for much longer. Doing this on a monohull
is considerably easier, I find!
HATCHES. They all leak!! Side hatches when smacked by waves let in gallons. We have to use the large portable bilge pump
regularly. The starboard after cabin
tore off its mounting but we have managed to rescue
and jam it back in place.
INTERNALLY. Not a pretty sight, I'm afraid. The big heavy bookcase in the saloon
detached and was crashing around the cabin. Its now swimming. (I recall
you were going to ditch it anyway!)
All soft furnishings are sodden wet. Both forward cabin doors have come off of their fixings
FRIDGE. Working fine then turned itself off for a day or so. Now back up and running. Mysterious...I doubt it has an automatic defrosting programme!!
STOVE TOP/OVEN. Changed the gas bottle a few days ago for new Singapore gas. Now only one burner will work (but you have to have everything shut or the weak flame blows out). Either the pressure is wrong or something is interrupting the gas flow. Domestically its not a happy scene! Later
its getting worse.
HEADS. The starboard toilet bowl has broken. Not the porcelain (thank goodness) but the base plate.
Luckily no-one was on it at the time... The base plate on the other side is probably on its way out as well.
. Both filled in Ambon. On changing tanks
I find the Port tank drained!! Difficult leak to find, I'm afraid as the tank is glassed in.
INSTRUMENTS. Apart from auto pilots mentioned above, the wind
instrument has started to go off as has the depth
guage. This is almost certainly dampness.
Not an exhaustive list 'cos I've probably forgotten a couple of things! But enough to be getting on with.
The last leg from Ambon has been absolute hell and morale is a tad low at the moment!! end of paste.
Many thanks for all support and advice so far!! Tony