Welcome to the Maunie of Ardwall blog

This is the blog of Maunie of Ardwall. After a six-year adventure sailing from Dartmouth to Australia, we are now back in Britain.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

NZ to Tonga Day 3 - If you're thinking about it, now's the time to do it.

Can you guess what this is?!
Position at 22.30 UTC Thursday 1st May: 31 deg 51 min south, 177 deg 05 min east
Sir Chay Blyth (round the world sailor, ex-Paratrooper and founder of the Challenge Business which put ordinary people into extraordinary steel global racing yachts) had a number of sayings that he would share liberally, whether they were asked for or not. We still repeat his 'Chafe is Your Enemy' when checking the sails and rig and his 'Trim, trim, trim' when looking to coax a few extra tenths of a knot out of the boat. The one we use most, though, is "If you're thinking about it, it's time to do it" which applies to all sorts of things aboard a boat. If you're thinking that maybe it's worth putting a reef in the sails, do it now ; invariably if you wait, the wind will get up more and make the process more challenging.
It also applies to boat maintenance, too. It's very easy to look at some frayed stitching or a bit of chafed line and think 'I must get round to that' only to find that it fails a day later with much more difficult consequences. We've just paid the price for not following Sir Chay's advice fully.
The photo, above, is of our fresh water pump which resides in a small (of course) space under the floor behind the engine. It draws water from the main tank and pressurises a ring main servicing the taps in the heads and galley; the red tank is an 'accumulator' which has pressurised air on one side of a flexible membrane and water from the pump on the other and its job is to provide a steady flow of water so that the pump runs smoothly and doesn't stop and start repeatedly when a tap is opened. Anyway, a week or so ago we noticed that the pump was getting louder when its pressure switch detected the need for it to run and then took longer than normal to re-pressurise the system. We'd bought a spare pump, just in case, and Graham had checked that it had all the necessary fittings to replace the old one.
Of course, it crossed our minds that it might be a good idea to swap pumps before we departed (If you're thinking about it, etc.) but the old pump was still going and we had a lot of other things to do. Wrong! Yesterday afternoon the pump died completely so Graham had a fun hour extracting it from its hole under the floor, replacing the old pump with the new one (and, of course, it's a different pump so new mounting holes needed to be drilled) and refitting it all. Luckily the boat wasn't rolling too much but it would have been a lot easier if we were still moored in the marina! The good news is that it's all working again.
Apart from this hiccup, all's well aboard. We're still motoring but the weather files show nice south-easterly breezes tantalisingly close ahead. As we hinted in the last blog, it feels wrong to set off on a passage knowing that there would be a couple of days of diesel-burning at the very start but what we didn't say was that our NZ visas had just expired so we faced an expensive ($330) and tedious process to apply for extensions if we did decide to wait a week for the next weather window. The authorities were at pains to reassure us that they wouldn't kick us out into unfavourable conditions but a couple of days of motoring in light wind could hardly be described as hazardous!
So we'll make the best of what we have;  running the engine allows us to run the watermaker and enjoy hot showers whilst we wait for the wind.

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