Stuck inside of Durban with the Cape Town blues again (sorry Bob Dylan)…
It has been eight days since our tour ended. We are all itching to move on. But the weather is not cooperating. It looked like we would have a “window” several days ago. But the window closed before it arrived. Then again a few days later. Again it didn’t pan out. Now maybe Thursday or Friday, but even that seems suspect. Although it is spring here, it is cold like the depth of their winter, and the winds keep coming from the unwelcome SW. The conditions change rapidly, so we get brief spells inviting us to go, but the forecast says no.
Right now the wind is blowing 30+ knots from the SW, and we are very happy to be in a harbor. We spent one fun day with Greg, our tour guide. He had promised to take us back to the Valley of 1000 Hills to see Zulu dancing, which was rained out on our original one day tour. So we did that, and then had Greg and his sweetheart Sue and his daughter Emma come to see the boats. He brought each boat a gift of “Three Ships” South African scotch, which we have been enjoying. He also brought a gift for Liam to acknowledge Liam’s knowledge and interest about the South African history and culture — a deck of knowledge cards about Gandhi, signed by two of Gandhi’s grandchildren. Greg and family know nothing about sailing, and they were fascinated to take the three-boats tour.
The No Regrets crew made a list of boat tasks to do, and we have crossed almost all of them off. One thing we did that I’m pleased about is we had a sailmaker repair the spinnaker snuffer that originated with our asymmetrical spinnaker. It’s hoop/bucket had broken, so we substituted the snuffer from our old Parasailor. But the latter is bulky and awkward and complex. Our repaired snuffer will fit in our bag much more easily, and be simpler to use.
The starboard engine has been reluctant to start, so we engaged a mechanic to check it out. He removed injectors and the injector fuel pump, and took them home to test. He says they check out fine. Upon return he did a compression test. Two cylinders are like new, one is marginal. But it seems unlikely that it would account for the symptoms we see. Next step, hopefully tomorrow, will be to investigate the fuel delivery system and the exhaust elbow. The problem remains a mystery.
We spoke with three different “battery guys” about replacing our ailing batteries. Two said they couldn’t match what we have, and while they offered alternative batteries they didn’t offer a plan for how to install them (and the placement and wiring would have to be quite different from what we have today). The third guy also could not match what we have, but he did offer a plan that seemed workable. But in the end we decided to struggle on with what we have, rather than tackling major rework of our wiring tangle, that would entail some risk of dislodging some small wire and requiring a month of troubleshooting.
We cleaned. We had diesel delivered. We tried to get propane but have been unable to find an outfit that can fill our American tanks. We repaired a lifeline, tightened alternator belts, inspected aloft, cleaned and lubed stuck zippers, lubed hatch dogs, inspected our repaired daggerboard, tested our temporary windlass repair, re-repaired our cockpit floorboards and reglued gaskets on hatches.
And the wind generator has our attention. It has also been reluctant to start generating. A year ago we replaced the bearings, and when that didn’t help we replaced the blades. Still not good. So we’ve been looking into its wiring. The relay that switches it on is getting hot. Hopefully that is a sign that it is faulty, so replacing it (or modifying the system to leave it out) will help. It’s not a common relay, so it may not be replaceable here. But for today, with a howling wind, the generator is going gangbusters. We’ll leave the hot relay in place (turning the system off if we leave the boat) until the wind calms down; then we have ideas about a simpler wiring scheme with no relay. Will that help with its effectiveness? Stay tuned…
Now that most of our other chores are complete, we are reading a lot. Going out for a meal most every day. Tagging along when others make a shopping run, even though we don’t really need to. Starting to think about the schedule ahead post-Brazil…how much time in the Eastern Caribbean…how much in the Bahamas…when back to the NE USA…and who will be aboard, as I will probably we looking for crew. I met with Rob and Carol (of Maggie) to pick their brains about where to go between Trinidad and the Bahamas.
Everyone (all three boats) seems to be getting a wee bit irritable, even though we put on happy faces. Will we ever get a good forecast to get out of here…? Jimmy told us to allow a month between Durban and Cape Town, despite it being only 800 miles. But I didn’t think we would click off so many of those days waiting to get started…