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Old 30-08-2008, 20:35   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Currently on the boat, somewhere on the ocean, living the dream
Boat: Morgan 461 S/Y Flying Pig
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Day 5 - Maine Passage

Day 5 - Maine Passage

Hello from the North Atlantic, at 38*22'N, 69*39' W, as we sail
along on a broad reach, having turned the corner (on which,
more, below).

Today's "crisis of the day" developed just after the last report
was sent. We had our rig professionally (sic) tuned by Atlantic
Spar when we were in Annapolis. Aside from, I presume, making
sure it was straight in column, the best I can tell is that all
they did is severely loosen the stainless steel wires supporting
the mast. On a tack, the lee side wires can literally flop
around by hand. Ever since, the mast has moved tremendously in
its collar, forcing the foam rubber shock absorber, located
between an aluminum collar on the deck, and the mast, up. It's
what occasioned the failure (which wasn't really - we
accidentally cut it in the previous resolution of the collar
walking up the mast) of the last mast boot, requiring this new

I'd been meaning to adjust the rigging to tighten it back up, but
something always got in the way of it, as the collar had been put
back down when we redid the mast boot. Out of sight, out of
mind... Anyway, with the collar above the ring on the deck, our
very light winds meant some rig flogging, and now the mast was
grinding away on the aluminum ring on the deck. Oops. Time to
get busy on that, right now!!

I'll spare you the shoulder-wrenching, arthritis-inducing
wrestling, details, but it suffices to say that the collar made
it back down, and the shrouds got tightened. So much so that it
changed the shape of the hull, pulling the sides together
slightly, trapping one of the sole pulls, needed to get at where
Lydia stows her spare beer, such that it was a real challenge to
get it up! I'll attend to that, along with redoing some of the
mast boot which came loose in all the pushing and shoving of the
collar under it, later today.

I went down for my usual short nap at 10, and Lydia woke me at
1:30, with the same complaint - unable to stay awake and focused.
She also told me of the new crisis of the day, which is that our
radar apparently doesn't like anything other than fully packed
batteries. Our batteries, as those who were with us on the first
leg of our journey last year at this time will recall, had had
some abuse as a product of a failed/failing charger and some
alternator problems, early in their lives. So, being about 3
years old, which is normally pretty young, they probably aren't
in the best of shape, and I consider their capacity suspect, as
we can go through a normal day's maximum usage overnight (the
solar and wind normally more than keep up during the day, but
can't fully replace what's been used overnight). However, as yet
another confirmation of the general state of the industry, when I
paid for the full installation of the new radar to go with our
chartplotter given to us by another of our saints as he upgraded,
they didn't install new power wiring or a new circuit breaker.
Thus, it's being powered by 20-year old gear, the same as was
present in the much less powerful predecessor. This isn't a new
problem, really, as it was identified long ago, but it's reared
its head again, now. Unfortunately, there's no workaround that
I've found, and I'll have to bite the bullet and do the
installation of new wire and breaker myself, later.

That said, this has been the most wonderful cruise. Yesterday we
were briefly visited - 200 miles offshore of the nearest point! -
by two barn swallows who checked us out, circumnavigating the
boat a few times, and then headed out, without landing, to
wherever they were bound. Even though we're in the barest of
zephyrs, and as a result we're rocking and rolling a lot in the
nearly-calm seas, we're still making 4 knots toward our
destination. I figure this answers the question of yesterday,
as, if we got out of the Gulf Stream, we'd be going nowhere. At
least with this, we'll be something on the order of 80 or more
miles closer to our destination by this time tomorrow!

Fortunately, Chris Parker, our weather guru, wrote back to the
couple of short questions I posed over sailmail, and we were able
to stay in the Gulf Stream until our turning point at 38*00'N
68*40'W. Up until that time, we'd had the best of the forecasted
possibilities of the benefits to the Gulf Stream, achieving lift
the entire way, and, for the last several hours we were in it,
back up into the 9 knot range (from the several hours we were
drifting along at 4-5 knots). So, at 3:30 this afternoon, we
headed north, leaving the lovely prize of the added speed of the
Gulf Stream, our very good friend for nearly 120 hours.

Shortly before this was sent, I went out and twiddled the rig
again before we changed onto a port tack to go north, so that the
pressures would be equal on both sides. It will take more work,
not only occasioned by the changes I've made under way, but from
the realities of having the front and back of the rig entirely
slackened to deal with the travel lift at the yard. I'd gotten
spoiled in our earlier life, with lifts which were much larger,
and thus not requiring any alterations to the standing rigging in
the course of lifting and moving.

As I write, it looks as though yesterday's musings on routing
held true; we're pushing 7 knots and the forecast is favorable to
maintain that speed through the balance of our passage. With
last night's doldrums, and in particular because the currents in
this particular part of the ocean were much more northerly than
on a historic basis, having stayed in the current was definitely
the better thing to do, because there's also a counter-current
which, had we turned NE at the expected point of the Gulf
Stream's change in direction, would have been right on our nose!

So, once again, we're on a broad reach in 10-15 knots of wind,
comfortably making consistent way toward our next turning point,
the Great South Channel off Cape Cod. With any luck, we'll be
making that turn shortly after tomorrow's posting. As I write
this, we've covered 800 miles in slightly less than 5 days, for a
160 mile average. No doubt our last few days will see that drop
precipitously, but I'd be pretty surprised to see it be under 100
miles. Once again, at the risk of sounding like a broken record,
we're thrilled with Flying Pig, and very pleased with the return
on investment of our new sails.

We're now in the phase of the passage where we continually get
closer to land. For several days, we've not been closer than 250
miles to any land, but we're only about 200 miles from Long
Island's South shore, and Cape Cod. We're looking forward to
seeing land again :{))

For today, then, this is Flying Pig, with crew Skip, Lydia and



Morgan 461 #2
SV Flying Pig KI4MPC
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"You are never given a wish without also being given the power
to make it come true. You may have to work for it however."
"There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in
its hands. You seek problems because you need their gifts."
(Richard Bach, in The Reluctant Messiah)
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