Welcome to the Maunie of Ardwall blog

This is the blog of Maunie of Ardwall charting our adventures as we sail around the world. We're sailing up and down the east coast of Australia after a summer back in Britain.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Day 7 - Apollo 13

Our update at 02.00UTC Thursday 30th October is as follows:

Position: 30 degrees 25 mins south, 174 degrees, 40 mins east
Wind: SSW 10-12 knots
Boat: 5.8-6.1 knots SOG at 146 degrees true, Sea: 2.0m 
Pressure: 1017hPa
Cloud cover: 15%, bright sunshine and blue
Mileage covered in past 24 hours: 150nm
Yesterday was a great sailing day with the Parasailor flying for 6 hours followed by a beam reach with white sails through the night. Unfortunately beam-reaching (the wind coming from the side of the boat) is Winnie the Windpilot's least favourite directions and because of our ailing battery we couldn't run Constance the electric autopilot to help her out. Normally the combination of Maunie, Winnie & Constance (which sounds like a rural solicitors firm) is unbeatable in most conditions but we had to hand-steer through the night watches which was tiring.
At 5.00am we met the weather front we'd been expecting – a brief soaking of rain, a sudden coolness to the wind and an instant windshift from NW to SW. So MAunie is, sadly, no longer pointing he nose at NZ and instead we've started a dog-leg to the SE. All being we'll this will have some benefit in taking us out of the path of the worst big swells due to arrive tonight and then tomorrow the wind direction should alter to allow us to sail south before it swings again on Saturday night to head SW to Opua.
Our battery situation rather reminds us of one of Graham's favourite films, Apollo 13, where the crew of Lovell, Swaggart and Haise had to move into the landing module as a cramped emergency base and shut down the main spacecraft after most of its electrical power was lost after an explosion in one of the oxygen tanks. Preparing for re-entry after several days with 'Sir Isaac Newton in the driving seat' they had to restart the main craft with only dregs of power left in the batteries; every amp counted in the process. The film, if you haven't seen it, is brilliant – many of the scenes were shot in a set installed in NASA's 'vomit comet', a jet plane that can fly a 40-second parabola to create weightlessness, and of course it stars Tom Hanks. Anyway, back on Maunie it wasn't quite so dramatic but last night we shut down pretty much everything apart from the masthead navigation light, the VHF radio and the GPS so we reduced our current consumption to only 2 amps. We're glad to say that our remaining serviceable battery kept going with just a one-hour run of the generator during the night to top it up, during which time the fridge was switched back on and Graham had an hour's respite from the wheel as Constance could be used.
So, apart from the fact that we're not quite pointing in the right direction, all's well here. The sun's shining so the solar panels are allowing the fridge and Constance to play. The relatively calm conditions at the moment have allowed us the luxury of hot showers and this afternoon we'll use the last of our fresh mince to make a double batch of bolognese sauce for supper. Hopefully the swells, when they arrive, won't be too disruptive of our progress but more hand-steering lies ahead tonight, we suspect, so we've both tried to get some sleep during the day.

1 comment:

  1. The battery situation sounds less than ideal, but on the bright side, not too far to go now.
    Looks like NNW Sat night/Sun Morning and get in before the next front comes through.
    Get those solicitors working again
    Good sailing.