LTY DAILY STATS: (I’ll use this same list each day for those of you who like to keep track and experience the sail a bit more this way)
LTY (local Fiji) time: 17:05 Nov 9th, 2016 (LTY time/NZ time = UTC +12)
LOCATION: about 465nm south of west end of Fiji
POSITION: 24 18.421 S 173 2.511 E (can cut & paste into Google Earth)
SOG: 6.8 kts (SOG = Speed over Ground)
COG: 222 (COG = Course over Ground, our GPS based compass heading)
WIND: 18 kts SE = 50 degrees over our Port bow
SEAS/Swell: 2m big smooth swells @ 8 seconds, like motorcycling through rolling hills
WEATHER: Ideal sailing weather; sunny blue skies with 15-20 kts wind
SAILS: Both main and Genoa up and filled full
AIR TEMP: 70F 21C cccccccccccold!!!
SEA TEMP: 80.4F 26.9C
DISTANCE TRAVELED last 24 hrs: 148nm All sail, all the time!
TOTAL DISTANCE TO GO: (Opua, NZ): about 737 nm
DAY #4 A DAY in the LIFE
Feeling kindly towards all you faithful followers and knowing that you have likely lost some of your conditioning for Wayne’s typical LTY Updates I’ll do my best to keep this one short. That’s two in a row BTW, but who’s counting?!!!
Actually there isn’t to much to say as this was another “sailing magazine worthy day” out here for Christine and I. Weather continues to be ideal for sailing with winds cooperating with direction to keep us headed about SSW and they are right in that sweet spot of 15-20 kts per hour which gives us maxiumum speed and minimum heel when close hauled. That’s when you are sailing as close to the wind as possible, in our case this means the wind is coming at us at about 50 degrees off our Port bow. In these conditions we are averaging over 6kts with bursts up to mid 7’s quite frequently and only about 10-15 degrees of heel aka lean. The seas are still very calm with surprisingly little wind waves and what we have is mostly those long rolling swells coming up from the SE. These are some of my favorite sea conditions as you look out across them in all directions like they are curvaceous rolling hills of aquatic wonderland. LTY just loves these conditions as well. She’s a big heavy boat and so she just glides gracefully up over one hill and down into the next valley with a motion for us not unlike being on a giant 52 foot steel rocking horse. Magic carpet rides just don’t get any better!
The past two days have also been typical in that there has also been the usual “little things” of boat maintenance to look after which is simply the of admission or “tax” to this life of ours. When you think about it, LTY is most closely parallel to living in a small little “village” with all the systems and infrastructure that entails. We have our own electrical “grid” supplying us with both 12 volts DC and 120 volts AC using combinations of our big “house bank” of batteries, KISS wind generator and six big solar panels along with 2 alternators on the main engine and a 6kW diesel generator. Then a series of transformers, inverters and chargers mixing all these inputs and outputs to provide us with whatever electrical power we need. We have our own onboard “water works” with a 12v watermaker that converts sea water into all the pure H2O we want and then all the drains and sewage systems at the other end of that spectrum. We look after our own communications system, our own navigation systems, food, lodging, etc. We have worked hard to setup Learnativity to be as completely self sufficient as possible and other than food we could pretty much go for an indefinite amount of time with no contributions or requirements from the “outside world”. We do so because unlike the past 15 months, we rarely spend time in marinas or near others much at all, preferring to live “on the hook” or at anchor where we are the only boat in the bay and just offshore of some perfect little beach for us and the pups and maybe a few locals ashore. Our definition of a “big population” is anything over 200 people!
I mention all this as some context and background as to why it is also a lot of work, though a labour of love, to live this way and keep this “village” called Learnativity working well and taking such good care of us as we wander our way around this awemazing planet of ours. The past two days have been typical of our life in this regard. We’ve had these idyllic past two days of sunny passage making and mixed with all this have been a few of the typical “taxes” we pay. Two nights ago at the usual time when all such things happen, two AM, I noticed that one of our bilge pumps (we have 3) was coming on intermittently every few minutes. This was our main bilge area in the middle of the boat and in the engine room/workshop so I strapped on my favorite headware, my trusty headlamp, and down I went. What greeted me was a waterworks display! Pretty enough with water streaming through the air, but not good! Quick taste revealed this to be salt water, also not good to find inside the boat, and seemed to be concentrated over in the forward starboard (right) corner of the engine room where our main intake of seawater is located. Uh, oh! However after a few minutes I quickly found that this was merely where a small but lively geyser of salt water was landing and the leak was originating from a tiny hole on the front of our transmission oil cooler. I was on watch and Christine was snoring away in the aft cabin so I shut down the main engine and went back to the engine room to figure out the problem and more so the solution. This oil cooler has salt water being pumped through it to keep our main engine’s transmission running nice and cool and it made of all copper and usually a very long lasting and dependable item. I’d replaced what was likely the original cooler with a new one less than 2 years ago so it was surprising that it would spring such a leak so soon. However a closer inspection revealed that for reasons that I’ve still yet to figure out, a small bit of the copper on one of the end transition pieces had corroded through from the inside and created this waterworks display for me. I removed the cooler and tried to solder the hole closed with my little butane torch but could not get the solder to flow and bond well as I suspect that pure copper body was dissipating all the heat too quickly. On to Plan B. I removed the cooler body, just two 1 ¼” water hoses and two oil lines, got out some 5 minute metal epoxy, sanded the cooper clean and smeared a small bit on both the inside and out side and soon had it all sealed up, reinstalled and the engine running like a dream again. All this in just over an hour and a half so not bad at all. Best of all, by the time I got back up to the cockpit to start up the engine and get back underway, the wind reappeared and I didn’t need the engine at all! Up went the sails and we were off. That was two days ago and the wind hasn’t changed much at all since and hence these past two days of idyllic sailing!
Today’s “tax” arrived last night when Christine alerted me to the fact that the light was staying on from our aft sump pump that collects and pumps overboard all our aft “gray water” from the aft head/bathroom sink, bathtub and also the drain from our aft swimsteps. I have this little pump set up in a small drain box under the aft flooring with a float switch that automatically turns on the pump and pushes all the drain water up into our Sea Chest, which is where all our grey and black water exits the boat. Normally this little red light only comes on for a few seconds whenever you are using the sink or otherwise producing grey water. I did a cursory check and tried a few of the simple tests but it was stuck “on” for some reason and wasn’t going to shut off. Not a critical item for the resto f the evening so I left it till a few hours ago when I had daylight and both of us awake to look after this latest repair. Turned out to be a problem with this all new drain box solution I had put together as part of the major refit we just finished and it wasn’t liking this constant heeling to Starboard (leaning over to the right due to the wind on the sails) we’ve been doing for the past two days. Takes a bit of time to get access to this area under the floor in our Utility room that was originally where the washer/dryer was before I removed it years ago, but I was able to get in there today and remove and remount the float switch that turns the pump on and off as the water in the drain box rises and lowers, so that it would work when we are heeled to Stbd. Total time about an hour so a quick and easy one for me this time.
Well the point of my “brief” overview is to answer some of the questions we get from many of you about these passages. You ask things like “What do you do when you are out there 24/7 for weeks at a time?” or “Don’t you get bored after awhile?” or “Why are you always fixing things?”. Hopefully this helps answer some of these questions and gives you a bit of a glimpse into these aspects of a typical day in our life here on passage.
Well I did promise to keep this “short” now didn’t I, so I’ll end there for today. I’ve got yet another awesome looking sunset calling my name and an even more awesome partner in passages, life and love, aka Christine, waiting to share it all with me so I’ll bid you all adieux se soir mate and look forward to typing up tomorrow’s update for you.
Christine & Wayne