Posted by Steve Dashew (November 21, 2010)
11/22/2010 1:54 AM (UTC) position 27°20.98′N 017°36.67′W spd 11.7 hdg 260T We have had a lovely evening with full moon, eight to ten knots of breeze over the stern, waves just big enough for the odd surf, and nothing on the horizon. As always, it feels wonderful to be free of the land, surrounded by water and sky. The galley magically produced a delicious pasta dinner from the stash in the freezer and we have been practicing self control regarding the chocolate chip cookies. Radio propagation is good and there are strong signals from the weather fax stations in Baton Rouge and Boston. What is shown confirms the raw GFS model grib data downloaded with Saildocs. It is not pretty. The forecast has deteriorated, with a large trough now extending across and south of the great circle route to Saint Lucia. This looks to be around for a week bringing headwinds close to the course we would like and light airs south. For the smaller boats and those with limited range under power this is shaping up to be a long passage. Just after midnight there was a soft, barely perceptible deceleration, and the revs dropped on the starboard engine. Fuel filter gauges looked good, the throttle linkage checked out, and when the Morse cable was removed from the injection pump arm moving the throttle actuator by hand did not change the result. The exhaust gas temperature climbed rapidly when trying to run up the revs indicsting something was loading the prop. A further clue was the fact that the engine revs were fine out of gear. We backed down several times and this cured the problem. We never saw whatever was hung up, The above issue notwithstanding, progress is on target, running at 1800 RPM for 11 knots, averaging a bit more with a favorable current. Weather tactics are comples. For now we will stick with the great circle but kick up the speed a touch. There is a chance we can get far enough west and avoid or minimize the forecast unpleasantness. More later.