Beach House Ship\’s Mini Blog & Position Report – Squalls and Steering….

TIME: 2016/05/12 18:04
LATITUDE: 10-34.33S
LONGITUDE: 131-55.48W
SPEED: 6.5
BARO: 1014.1
COMMENT: Beach House – En Route – Marquesas Islands – Day 16 – 165 nm

Housekeeping: Nikki is getting her emails on my email address from friends and family. She thanks you.

Yesterday, we got fooled (well, I did). Nikki asked me about a very wide looking squall with rain in it just after I had shaken the reef and went back to a full mainsail. I said, \”looks like rain, but not much more\”. We turned on the radar and indeed, it looked quite benign. Nikki wasn\’t so sure….
Nikki was right. The rain hit and within 30 seconds we had 40 knots of wind! We rolled up the head sail and we\’re truly sleigh riding fast, too fast hitting 15 knots briefly. This was not a good thing. I then went forward to reef, but the reefing pendant had parted in the gust. Ride the wild pony we did. After 10 minutes, the wind abated to 35 knots for another 20 minutes. Then finally back down in the mid 20\’s. Lesson learned – yet again! (Maybe never!???)

This was indeed the wind shift we\’d been expecting and we actually \”tack/gybed\”. Instead of putting our stern through the wind which is trickier in handling the mainsail, we did a 270 degree turn and headed off to the ENE from our previous heading of SW. Nikki handled the sail controls while I powered us around in a circle. We\’ve been on starboard tack (wind on our right), ever since.

Two nights ago, the steering failed and we had quite the sail drill drama as we wrote yesterday. Last night, we had a mini version of the same event, but fortunately not as bad.

With a first quarter moon, we can see the water in front of us and while I was on watch, I noted the steering was starting to slip again. We had at the time a reef in the main and our genoa poled out to starboard. I thought I would be able to wait for Nikki to come up on watch, but just then the rudder failure alarm went off and the steering packed it in again. This time, the boat did an un-intentional gybe which can be quite disastrous. The wind got on the wrong side of the mainsail and started to spin us around. I quickly called Nikki and started the port engine. I was able to power our way back on course with the now very difficult steering system all over the place. Nikki was able to fight the wheel and keep us on some sort of course while I went aft to fix the problem. This time however, it was due to the starboard ram\’s being \”locked\” against it\’s rudder stop. It was quickly cleared and we\’ve been checking the rudder ever since about every 3 hours. I will need to adjust it when done with this report.

Because of the dicey steering issue, we are sailing with reefed main only now after dark. We set the head sail in the daylight so if a failure occurs we can deal with it easier. We will furl it before dark. This will likely slow our arrival at Fatu Hiva down by around a good 1/2 to a full day. So instead of just under 18 days, we\’ll likely be somewhat under 19.

The weather is cooperating so far today, we had a lovely pleasant night after the sail/steering drill. The wind has allowed us for now to sail directly to our destination, but that will likely change a bit as the day wears on.
It all comes under the general heading of, \”Stuff Occurs\”. Just another thing to fix in Tahiti.

We\’ve 395 miles to go.
All is well despite the issues.
Scott and Nikki