Watching The Others Go

Scheduled Start Day +1

It’s hard for us now, looking at the positions of the boats on the BPO tracking web site (http://cornellsailing.com/sail-the-odyssey/blue-planet-odyssey/follow-the-rally/track-the-boats/), while we remain behind. Today had some positive news (the rebuilt engines ran okay for a couple of hours of sea trial) and some setbacks (electrical issues related to wiring the engines into the existing systems). Oh well, one day at a time.

Scheduled Start Day +2

Yesterday, just for a moment, I thought about abandoning our boat/crew and offering to crew aboard Joyful… But no, that’s not the path I am on.

Tonight we have an updated plan to address our remaining issues:
1. “Trade in” our too-small engine that we got in Maine (and just had rebuilt), for another rebuilt engine of the right size. Our mechanic says he can do this in 5 hours on Wednesday! I know this sounds crazy, as it introduces new risks of things going wrong, but we are leaning toward doing it anyway.

2. “Trade in” our two new alternators for a different type that can be wired into the boat’s existing systems, rather than require a different/separate solution. Hopefully this can also be done Wednesday, but we need to verify this.

3. Speak with the service expert about our watermaker, which made bad-sounding noises when we tested it yesterday, even though it successfully produced fresh water. The goal is to either be reassured that the noises are normal, or take it apart again and figure out what we did wrong.

4. See if we can understand why the hydro generator, which we tested yesterday, does not show up on our electrical systems monitor as charging the batteries, despite the fact that it appears to be generating current. We may decide that since it is working (apparently), we won’t worry about the lack of confirmation on the monitor, but it would be nice to eliminate this mystery.

5. Stock up with fresh food and go.

Hoping to be off within one week of the original start date. As I’ve said before, this puts us in a better position than many of the entrants. And the tracking chart on the BPO web site shows that one of the 4 boats that left Saturday for Jamaica has turned back! An email says they have technical issues, but we don’t know any details yet. That puts us currently in “4th place” in our little fleet. But of course it is not a race.

Scheduled Start Day +4

Installed ‘new’ engine today, but the guys didn’t finish before quitting time, so we don’t yet have confirmation that it is wonderful. Electrician has been working on remaining electrical issues. Bill and I took a lot of the day off to bicycle into old Key West and look around at the architecture and eat yummy food.

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Other BPO boats (and “Rally Control”) are contacting us to ask if we’ve left yet. We’re happy that they haven’t forgotten about us. They should be arriving in Jamaica soon.  Gusto is back here after losing most of their electronics as they rounded the west end of Cuba.  Hopefully that will be a relatively simple fix and they will be off again.

4 thoughts on “Watching The Others Go”

  1. This summer, my son and I are planning a four-day bike trip to Montreal. A bit less extreme an adventure, especially with the lack of critical electronics, yet still enough of a project that this blog is making me a bit anxious.

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    1. We are paying a price for purchasing a boat full of very complex systems that have been added to and modified over the years. You’re familiar with what happens along these lines with software, if it isn’t divided up into encapsulated modules. We have zillions of wires, some of which are no longer used; some labeled, some not; some hanging unattached. We have a wiring diagram but some of it is out of date. We have electronics that we don’t fully understand or know how to troubleshoot. It sometimes amazes me that things work at all. The only way I find wiring changes manageable is to carefully do incremental testing, and keep the option open of restoring the previous state. The mechanic and electrician assumed they knew how things should be wired, and did not take this cautious approach. Now they’re trying to figure it out.

      Having all the electronic goodies is wonderful when they work. And they can be a big liability. In any case, you don’t have this risk. I think our story should make you feel “light” about your chosen means of travel!

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  2. Glad you’re still moving forward even if slower than you’d like. Who knows – there may be a bigger reason for this delay, that’s in your best interests, that hasn’t revealed itself yet. Hugs and patience, V

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