Pffff. I’d gone to bed afer my first watch feeling extremely grumpy and worried. Our speedy voyage to date had slowed to a crawl, the wind down to 8 knots over deck and very uncomfortable waves brought our speed to a measly 3-3.5 knots. The sails were banging as there was too little pressure to keep them full so we took them down and turned on the motor. Sounds are important on the boat and unfamiliar sounds generally indicate some sort of issue. There was an strange ticking in the propellor and the motor was not generating the same level of speed as normal. It was already pitch black and checking under the boat was not an option until morning. So off I went to bed in a slow, bumpy boat with a feeling of dread…there was something wrong with the motor and there was a very good chance that someone would have to get into the water in the middle of the ocean in 3 meter waves with several tons of bucking boat over their heads. Not a nice prospect.
Then at 0600 Seb woke me up with the fabulous news that the autopliot had leaked all of its hydraulic oil and he had been steering manually for an hour. Whumpf…no wind, no motor and no autopilot. Three very important pillars of a safe and speedy passage. We’d crossed the halfway mark in the night and had planned a great celebration, this would have to wait.
At first light, Seb hung from the swimming platform into the water with the GoPro (on a long stick) to get a first view of the damage. First films showed a huge black and yellow mass stuck in the propellor. Before venturing into the water we took a second look while running the engine at high rpm both forwards and backwards. The film was hilarious, as the engine goes into reverse a massive explosion of seeweed comes hurtling towards the camera. Whew! First problem solved. Now on to the autopilot.
Day 7: Atlantic Crossing
Date: December 14, 2017
Time 12:00 UTC
Position 11’03.561N / 40’10.607W
COG/SOG: 250 degrees / 5.5-6kn
Trip distance: 1007nm
Distance to go: 941nm
24h distance: 134nm
Cabin temp: 30.2C
Sea temp: 23.1C
Conditions: cloudy, wind 45 degrees / NE 15-18kn, sea moderate Sails: genoa
Live position tracker at: https://share.findmespot.com/shared/faces/viewspots.jsp?glId=02nKvBqvxOgtWvAPCDkUEUqyTcWFsO96a