27 Sept 2011

[Captains Blog] Somewhere out in the Atlantic

After an uneventful night sharing a bunk with a snoring shipmate separated only by a leecloth to stop us rolling into each other as we tacked the boat (thankfully he was on watch for 3 hours so I was relatively undisturbed except for the Man Overboard alarm which kept triggering in error) I woke to dappled sunshine and the prospect of another thrilling day afloat miles from anywhere and with the same faces around me. The bilges were still filling up with water at a rate which was requiring frequent pumping out, but we hadn't got to the bottom of where the water was coming from. An hour later, the sun shone through, and I got stuck into my sun sights with a borrowed sextant and sight reduction tables. This was what I really wanted to get to grips with, and my first set of reductions put me within 1 mile of our GPS position - not bad for a starter! However, on the second set of sights I took in the afternoon, I was not so good - 1 degree (60 miles) out - we put it down to the fact that I wasn't wearing my  specs, and misread the scale on the sextant. I'll try again in the morning - the more practice I get, the easier it becomes. Might try some star sights tonight to see how I get on with them too.

This afternoon, we finally found the source of our water ingress - one of the pipes coming off the enging exhaust cooling system was not tight, and despite our attempts to fix it by adjusting the jubilee clips around the pipe - it was all to no avail. So we will have an engineer on standby for when we get to Gibraltar. In the meantime, we simply keep on pumping the bilges out.

We altered our planned course today as we have had no wind and being under engine all the time, we (I) calculated how much fuel we have used, and what remains in the tank. We decided that we wouldn't have enough fuel to get us all the way to Gibraltar with sufficient safety margin, so we are now diverting into Sines on the Portuguese coast to refuel before heading back out into the Atlantic and round to Gib. All good fun. Ho hum. At least I got to have a shower on board tonight as we can refill the water tanks too in Sines. I might even be able to upload this blog!