The sail of 165 nautical miles from Port Lincoln to Adelaide took 32 hours. The first half of the sail, down Spencer Gulf, was difficult with fair but high winds. The sail up the Gulf of St Vincent was very good.
We departed from the pen at Port Lincoln at 0930 on 10 June motoring across a strong Northerly wind, then sailing SE in winds reaching 30 kn. Our new 10mm “spectra” reefing line parted on its second use and once again we had to make some hasty improvisations. Just past Wedge Island near the south of Spencer Gulf we got hit by a squall the made life in the dark very interesting for a while. The mainsail got wrapped behind one of the mast steps and I was force to climb up half way to the first cross tree to free it – not very pleasant or safe in a violently rolling boat. We plan to extend our step anti-wrapping measure from the from the lower cross tree down to the deck,.
We rounded Althorpe Island with just the light jib at 10.30 PM and began our leg up the Gulf of St Vincent. This gulf turned out to be much more calm that Spencer gulf and mercifully the wind speed started to drop and back to the SW. By dawn the wind speed was down to 6 kn but because of the calm waters the rigging did not thrash and we were still making 3.5 kn. At about 10 AM the wind had veered to the W we raised the main and began a splendid reach directly for Adelaide. We wanted to get into the marina before dark so we sailed the boat hard with full main and most of the jib against on a reach with a 25 kn NW. Pachuca with her tumble home hull and large lead keel can carry a lot of sail and the gunwale never got down to the water level, and we were able to maintain our 7 kn speed.
Our sail was covered by “Squeak” and Port Lincoln VMR on channel 81 and in the morning we were covered by Middle Beach VMR on channel 80. We could sense the dedication and responsibility of these terrific people doing volunteer work. In the morning I raised Middle Beach VMR asking for the station name and channel of the marina here a North Haven and before long I had a radio call from a representative of The Cruising Yacht Club of SA and we were assigned pen C22 [Note: Yesterday we moved to C29] with instructions for finding it.
As I said above, the second half of the sail was very, very good. At one point I was sailing in the bright sun, escorted by what seemed to be dozens of leaping and frolicking dolphins, sucking on a cold Heineken beer and thinking that this sailing life isn't so bad after all. As we approached the marina I was forced to wake Arnold up to get the AIS numbers on a large ship that was converging on us fast. I needed to know if and to where I should take evasive action. While Arnold was checking the AIS the ship started what turned out to be a 360 degree turn that ended with her being on her previous course but astern of us. I assume that rather than being intimidated by us it was a case of extremely gracious seamanship. Anyway, the splendid afternoon sail ended perfectly with the wind falling just as we approached the marina. We motored in and entered the pen with no dramas (for once!) at 5.15 PM just as the sun was setting.
We expect to be in Adelaide at least one and probably two weeks. The first order of business is to replace my mobile telephone which wound up on the cabin sole having a salt water bath from the bilge. But there are other things.
When I telephoned Steve Hartley on a holiday Monday of Tasker's about my head sail problems he returned my call almost immediately. The next day Reg, Arnold and I took down the damaged jib, carefully measured it, and took various measurements that Steve had requested. I phoned Steve and discussed the measurements which were remarkably close to what he had calculated from his records. He gave me some options and I decided to go for the best that he could provided; a laminated sail that is lighter at the luff (front) and heavier at the leech (back) so that as you roll in the jib in heavy winds there is only heavy material to take the load. This saves weight because there would be too much weight in making the entire jib out of the same heavy material. Steve would order the material that day, expect it on the Friday or Monday, and he would begin fabricating the sail on the Monday, one week after my distress call. In fact the work did begin on the Monday, and the sail would be made in 18 hours using their automated equipment. The sail should be ready for shipment by now and I will phone Steve tomorrow regarding shipment. All going well I, should have the sail sometime next week.
Other items on the works agenda are:
- Locate a boat window specialist to either repair or replace both of my hatches
- Locate and electronics person to get my Autohelm self steering running again
- Locate a sail maker to repair the heavy jib
- Replace the fresh water pressure pump
- Discuss my reefing line problems with someone with some expertise – perhaps I am putting too much strain on the line, or perhaps I'm not using suitable lines
- Refurbish the marine toilet and check out the the near-new through-hull stainless steel ball cock fitting to see why it is not doing its job.
- Replace the deck-level boot on the mast to stop the water trickle into the cabin
- Spare deck light and investigate intermittent failure of one of the compass lights
- Increase the loop on the shower drain hose
- Remove the chain from the anchor well and carefully inspect it for possible sources of leaks
- Integrate the “Lifetag” man-overboard system to the chart plotter
- Remove moisture-prone Trimble GPS repeater from the binnacle (to be replaced by a Raymarine repeater later)
- Purchase 406 MHZ EPIRB
Having said that, there is some good news to report. On our last day at Port Lincoln Arnold, Reg and I resealed the 5 of the 6 boat windows that had not been resealed. We also removed two vents and replaced them with screw-on caps coated with silicone sealant. Sealed plastic Dorade-type of vent over the galley with plastic sheeting. We also embedded the plastic cap covering the opening for the solar-powered fan over the head (toilet) with silicone sealant. Reg noticed some holes around the area of the solar-powered vent so we sealed them with silicone sealant.
The result of this was a relatively dry passage to Albany. No longer was there water dripping over the starboard bunk or the stove. The head was remarkably dry. Arnold noticed that some of the silicone that we had forced into the holes above the head appeared inside the boat as a stalactite of silicone, which means that two of the holes totally penetrated the cabin top. No wonder the head was always damp and the shelving frequently flooded with water. We still had to pump out the boat, but it seemed to be about 12 strokes every 2 hours.
Attached is a photo of the chart plotter's display of our track from Port Lincoln on the left, around Cape Yorke, to Adelaide on the right.