Friday, December 16, 2011


Noon Position 30 57' S, 111 27' W, SOG 4.8kts, COG 105T, Day's run
30nm. So if you notice that today's noon position isn't that far away
from Mondays, you're right! I'm plopped in the midst of the horse
latitudes right now, so named because ships would have to throw the
horses overboard to save water as they were becalmed. I wish I had a
horse with me, I'd hook it up to a bridle and make it swim and tow the
boat. On a related note, I am no longer making for Cape Horn. On
monday night I was checking over things when I discovered that my mast
was moving. On closer investigation, I've discovered that the steel
plate upon which the mast is stepped is corroded badly enough that it
has started to bend, thus letting the shrouds pull the mast down into
the boat. Right now a lot of the down force is being taken by the
collar where the mast passes through the deck, so as I go over waves,
the deck flexes a bit, allowing the mast to move up and down. Clearly
this is not a desirable situation, and I've decided that I cannot take
the boat into the 40s with things as they are. The deck is certainly
not designed to take the loads of the mast, and if the mast step or the
partners were to give way further in extreme conditions, the results
could be most unpleasant. At the moment I can't carry as much rig
tension as I would like, since increased shroud tension merely flexes
the cabin top downwards. That being discovered, I made the unhappy
decision to make for Valparaiso, Chile, 2000 miles to the West, to
repair the damage before continuing. The combination of being thwarted
in my goals and lack of wind has made me a decidedly unpleasant person
to be around the last few days - Lucky I'm alone! At this point I'm
hoping to be able to continue after repairs in Chile, but that of course
can't be determined until I can get the mast out and fully investigate.
Of course, being in the horse latitudes means that I can expect lots of
light and variable wind all the way to Chile - I'm going to try to make
my way down to 35 or 36S to try to get a bit more of the westerlies, but
so far have been thwarted by wind that varies between nonexistant and 5
kts out of the south.

1 comment:

  1. Well, Eric, flexibility (in more ways than one) seems to be the key word now. Who knows what awaits you in Chile! So glad you're being sensible and staying safe. Best, Sandy