This blog is about planning and preparation for a circumnavigation of the world in a 39-foot sail boat followed, hopefully, by a diary of the actual circumnavigation. You can track the progress of Pachuca by visiting http://www.pangolin.co.nz/xtras/yotreps/tracker.php?ident=VNW5980
Saturday, June 30, 2012
Departure Date (maybe)
This morning I sorted out a muddle over the tide patterns for Mar del Plata. I have the WXTIDE32 tide software running on both the Win7 and XP machines and it took me a few days to realize that they were giving me different tide predictions. The trap was that the software reports the tide times according to the host computer's clock. The Win7 machine, being my navigation and communication computer, runs on UTC (GMT) time, whereas the XP machine runs on local time, which is UTC-3. Even with that discrepancy sorted out, there is over one hour's difference in the predicted high tide between WXTIDE32 and a tide prediction web site. … Never mind, it's close enough. I plan to shove off at 8 AM on a tide that will be falling but should still be high enough to allow me passage out of the marina.
I've picked up the pace of final preparations. Yesterday I mounted the spare gas cylinder on the rail, much like what I did in La Paz, with universal clamps holding the top of the cylinder to the rail, a rope around the body of it, and the cylinder resting on a piece of ply. The big difference this time is that I bedded the ply on 3M 5200 to make sure that it stays in place. The original piece of ply went overboard during the run to the Horn and the bottom of the cylinder gouged a semicircular scar on the gel coat of the coaming.
One of the problems of an early morning departure is that it's too early to expect friends to come around and bid farewell. I was planning to send email messages to Pato, Jorge, and Alfredo advising them of my intention and that I would be at Club Nautico for a few hours on Tuesday morning in the hopes of seeing them. Also I figured that I'd have to cast off my own lines. Fortunately my walk to the market solved some of these issues.
On the way to the market I ran into Alfredo. We greeted each other with a hug and after telling him of my departure plan I thanked him for his help and told him that he had been a good friend to me. I told him about my recent gripe and he had just had it himself in Uruguay, I think, where he had been doing some oceanography work. Like me he's prone to asthma and he talked about having it from childhood. Yep, I said grimly, before the age of puffers. Like me he uses Ventolin now. Regarding the weather patterns I told him about the persistent High off the coast of Brazil, indicating headwinds for me most of the way. He agreed, but didn't seem to consider it a big problem. He told me that during the day I would be tacking to shore and during the night I would be tacking out to sea.
At the market I place my order of wine and beer to be delivered to the boat on Monday. I wasn't more specific than so many whites, so many cabernets, so many malbecs, etc. I asked for the account to be ready tomorrow so that I could plan my ATM cash withdrawals, since I don't want to leave the country with too many Argentine pesos on hand.
After that I went to the hardware store and paid outrageous prices for a Stanley knife, and two adjustable wrenches (6” and 10”) to replace ones that had gone overboard since La Paz.
On the way back I ran into the captain of the large catamaran Agape that had disappeared 2 days ago from her berth on the other side of the jetty. I told him that I figured that they'd be half way to Brazil by now. In fact the boat is at the shipyard facility, out of the water and having her hulls recoated. I told him my plans and thought that the winds for Wednesday would be favorable but maybe on the strong side. He told me that he'd keep a close look on that situation. Fortunately for me, he told me that he could come around at 8 AM on Wed to cast off my lines. I told him that would be very helpful to me.
I returned to the boat at 6PM from the evening session of the market with about $50 worth of meats which would set me up for good pressure cooker meals during the coming 2 weeks of sailing. My plan was to turn the entire refrigerator compartment into a freezer which would not be difficult to do in this cool weather.
When I emptied the refrigerator to begin the packing process I discovered that the refrigerator was not working. I know that it had been working until two days ago because the pork chops I was retrieving were chilled just below freezing. The breaker was on and yet when I ran the temperature setting from minimum to maximum the compressor remained dead. Great timing huh?
Honestly, my reaction was one that surprised me: boredom. It was like 'Yawn, yet another last minute crisis. B-o-o-o-o-ring.Yawn.' I put a plastic bucket into the refrigerator compartment then put the chiller bag containing the meat into the bucket, figuring that if the meat went off I could simply left out the bucket then tip the mess overboard to feed the crabs. I wasn't going to let this delay my departure and I would simply alter my provisioning and sail without a refrigerator.
Nevertheless the chilled meat gave some urgency to doing an immediate check for an obvious problem. I removed the overburden from the starboard quarter berth and gained access to the area below where the compressor lay. The compressor appeared to be in great shape: firmly mounted, nothing impinging its space, and most important, all the wiring clean and corrosion free. I probed the main leads and the unit was getting the full 12V of power. I fiddled around with the connections with no obvious result. I did notice, however, that every few minutes the unit would make a buzzing sound as though the compressor was starting, then would go quiet again after about 5 seconds.
I removed the thermostat from the refrigerator compartment wall and again found good electrical connections and no obvious problems.
I then put everything back and ripped into a bottle of Heineken that I discovered when I emptied the refrigerator – my first drink since I got ill.
Over a beer, while writing this entry, I decided to send a message to Roger in La Paz for advice. Roger installed the new system with a Danfoss compressor in October 2010 and he might be able to suggest a simple solution. I'll also see if I can get some refrigeration expertise here in MdP. Time and a couple of glasses of beer have calmed me enough to be willing to try for a quick solution. I would even be willing to delay my departure a day or two to that end. However, any delay beyond that and it's adios amigos.
From a broader perspective, this is another indication that the sooner that I get myself and this boat back to Australia the better. The Breakdown Clock is constantly ticking on every component of this complex modern boat and the longer I hang about the more problems I can expect.
- Departure Date (maybe)
- On The Mend
- Another Delay
- Electronics Fixed, Painting Rutland Tail
- Internet Problem, Mini Tour, Blunder of the Year
- Electronics and LPG
- Glitch and Probable Delay
- Connected Again
- More Preparation
- More Preparation and Internet Problems
- The New Me
- Tristan de Cunha and Cable Repair
- Test Message
- HF Radio Work and Victualing Started
- Lunch with Jorge, Electronic Systems Checked Out
- Anchors Ready, Fuel Tapped
- Fuelling, Boat Orientation, Laptops
- Staysail Deck Fittings
- Mainsail Ready
- Headsail Commissioned and Other Progress
- ▼ June (23)
- ► 2011 (288)
- ► 2010 (355)
- ► 2009 (376)
- ► 2008 (269)
- ► 2007 (43)