It wasn't too long after I'd sent the last blog that we started getting some wind and sailed across the prime meridian into the eastern hemisphere - thank goodness! After that, the wind sat at around 30 knots for most of yesterday, so Ella's Pink Lady's been flying along, covering lots of lovely miles to the south and east.
I'll admit I'm not really all that thrilled about the south part, after having temperatures between 20 to 26 c for so long. I can't seem to get enthusiastic about heading south back into cooler waters, I don't think Ella's Pink lady and Parker like the idea of the cold any more than I do. It's taking a lot of correcting from me to keep us heading south east rather than east. But unless we do head back to more southern latitude it's going to take us much longer to get back home. So south and cold it is, reluctantly!
Anyway, I promised a condition report on how Ella's Pink Lady is holding up. Overall it's pretty good considering the miles she's covered. I mean, how you would feel after almost 4 months hard work without a day off!?
To start with, I suppose you could say that along with the bent up targa frame, a few other scars and the odd rust spot on the deck and stainless steel, she is looking slightly weather beaten. But the rigging, sails, sheets etc are all doing pretty well, with only a few signs of chafe and wear.
Parker, the now slightly crooked Fleming windvane, is doing as good a job as ever steering us, although he does have a bit of a habit of chafing through the lines that link him to the tiller, which means I'm constantly end for ending, or shortening them.
The little Yanmar engine has really proved itself and has never once not fired up first go, when I start it up to give the batteries an some extra charge (out of gear of course). The only maintenance it has needed has been a quick tightening of a fan belt, the occasional squirt of grease on the stern gland (where the prop shaft goes through the hull) and I had to drain a little water from the fuel filter last week. One of our local mechanics (Jim) fitted a special filter that separates water from diesel (we actually got some water in the fuel tank during one of the knockdowns, when we were upside down). So thanks Jim!
Since the starboard solar panel got a little bent up during that storm, it's rudely stopped contributing any power to the batteries. But as the other panels and wind generator are still doing their share and because we've still got plenty of diesel, this isn't too much of a loss.
Fresh water supplies are doing ok. I've got enough to last till home, using close to 2 litres per day, which is plenty for drinking, along with my juice. But it doesn't leave a lot to spare, so the fresh water is strictly for drinking and cooking unless I get some good rain and manage to collect some more.
Most of the electrical equipment is holding up pretty well against the damp and wet. Well apart from one of my Panasonic hand-video cameras which got a little wet whilst filming some dolphins a while back, ouch! But the Toughbook laptop has more than proven itself it be super-tough, after coping a lot of salt water and mis-treatment. I'm down to using only one burner on the meth stove and have more meth than I'd be able to use in about three circumnavigations, so it looks like we over catered a little on that one!
And the skipper, well her hair has grown quite a bit longer and as far as I can tell, she's as healthy as ever. Although I do wonder if my legs are a bit thinner. I still do various exercises for them most days, but I'm thinking that maybe I won't be running any marathons right after getting home!
Well that's enough waffle for now.