Repair Progress

Puerto Williams Harbor at Midnight

Repairs have been progressing slowly, partly due to cold, rainy weather and partly due to some depression about my circumstances. The loneliness and cold and feeling stuck wears me down and some days I just don’t feel like doing anything. Over the last two weeks though, some progress has been made. After a few days of getting a visa and learning what’s what here, I assessed the damage on Sparrow. The list grew longer, of course.

The big news is the parts shipped last week to Miami where they hopefully departed for Santiago yesterday. It was rather a big job to specify everything, buy everything, consolidate the parts into a carton and ship it out. A huge shoutout to my longtime friend Steve who did an amazing job helping me specify parts, order them all, consolidate everything and ship them out. As of now, there is a 55 pound box on it’s way down here. If everything goes perfectly (sure) the box will clear Customs and meet the weekly ferry to Puerto Williams to arrive on the 23rd. There is no way I could have pulled that off from down here, so thank you so, so much Steve. I’m certain I have taken on a debt that I cannot repay.

Before the parts arrive, I’m doing everything I can both to make repairs and adjustment, and prep as far as possible to be able to quickly install the parts. With luck I should get everything done in three days after the parts arrive. So here is a list of repairs and status:

  • Rudder Bearing – cleaned and inspected. Bearings looked OK, but cracking (top only) in deck around upper bearing housing. Leak covered with 2mil poly bag material.
  • Turning Block hole in deck – hole filled with epoxy. Turning block not installed due to no backing plate. Will use padeyes and blocks as work around. 2 blocks shipped.
  • Gooseneck Pin – New pin shipped
  • Jib Halyard – old halyard removed, mouseline in, new halyard shipped
  • Mainsheet Sling Chafing – Chafing material shipped
  • Mainsheet Turning Block – replaced with spare 100mm block
  • Jib Battens – Still need to cut two battens and sew pockets closed (pockets torn)
  • Mainsail Cars – All car pins need to be replaced due to multiple failures; 2 new cars and carriage ordered; new pins and nuts ordered
  • Mainsail Batten Boxes – 4 broken boxes need to be removed; 4 new boxes shipped
  • Traveler Cars – Old cars removed; New cars shipped
  • Center hatch – Old hatch removed, new hatch shipped
  • Keel Box Leak – photographed keel joint, confirmed damage limited to fillet material.
  • Battery monitor – new part shipped
  • Laptop charger – new part shipped
  • Tricolor reverse polarity switch – new part shipped
  • GPS Antenna – new part shipped
  • VHF Antenna – new part shipped
  • Wind Sensor – Remounted but still moves affecting AWA, TWA maybe 5 degrees
  • Echomax XS Antenna – new part with mount shipped
  • Watermaker – High salinity. TDS meter shipped but resolution unknown. Will depart with full tank of shore water
  • Chainplate Leaks – unresolved
  • Jib Track Leaks – unresolved
  • Forward and Aft Hatch Leaks – unresolved
  • Winches – all cleaned and greased

So, with some work and luck, Sparrow will be ready for the open ocean again by the middle of next week, maybe the 27th?

Meanwhile I also muddle on where Sparrow is going…the U.S. East Coast or keep heading East? Looks like the option of heading up the Chilean waterway is not practical for singlehanded Sparrow. COVID and getting late in the season argues for heading up the Atlantic. Possible regret and doing what you said you would do argue to keep going around. As I lack sufficient life wisdom, I dither. But this topic will be for another post as departure draws nearer.

Now is the time for tea with a blanket and to read about Godel’s Incompleteness Theorem and its implications for determinism and AI while rain patters on the deck. I continue to be astonished at what I didn’t learn during 20 years of formal education. Although perhaps after 58 years around the sun maybe I can finally begin to put some pieces together.

I keep hearing COVID is raging back in Los Angeles. Puerto Williams feels like a safe place to be during the pandemic, even though the coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in Puerto Williams. Everyone stay healthy.

9 thoughts on “Repair Progress

  1. What advice do I have? First, be thankful for what you have. Most importantly is that you are healthy as when you left, I assume. Lots of folks can’t say that. Next, you are safe. Lots to be said for that. So, you are healthy and safe? Little else really matters in the grand scheme.

    As far as plans, make new ones. Life’s an adventure. There is no scrip other than what we make of it. You are on a detour in Puerto Williams. Whether you continue to circumnavigate or go elsewhere, the condition of your boat should dictate your options. Go where the wind and your heart carries you. Enjoy each day. We aren’t promised tomorrow.

    Summarizing three key words: Healthy, Safe, Enjoy.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Whitall, you are definitely “not in Kansas anymore”. Feelings of isolation and loneliness are to be expected, unwelcome curse of the singlehander,

    I expect you will be going thru all the mental gymnastics and “what if scenarios” for guidance on which direction to point Sparrow’s bow. My money is on homing pigeon instincts winning out and shortest route back to loved ones.

    Might want to add some w ater jugs and canned food to the list prior to heading back out to sea..

    Stay warm Mr Twain!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Whitall, I. grew up on ocean racing around Cape Leeuwin (only time I ever dropped a rig was off Leeuwin when overly ambitious skipper called for gybe as we raced a front around the cape In squally conditions)

    My recollections are that things don’t turn sour until after Easter, so you would have ample time to clear NZ by mid April

    Base your decision on the condition of your boat, do have have enough redundancies. If the answer is affirmative to that then consider how urgent is the desire to get home versus complete the circumnavigation.

    Remember you are blessed to be plagued by such decisions, enjoy! Rod


  4. I asked a older man about 38 years old who has a Medal of Honor for his advice while we were flying in a Huey he said. Have Patience, Don’t Panic, and use all you’re Senses and the ones you did not know you had. This advice has not failed me in 74 years.


  5. Tough decision. Hopefully some one thing will jump out and make it for you. Whatever you decide know that Nancy and I and many others are with you in spirit and pulling for you.
    Fair winds brother.


  6. If you havent already Whitall… when you need a break… drop in at the Martin Gusinde Anthropological Museum in Puerto Williams. Cool place… gives one “perspective” learning how the natives managed to live in such a cold wet region with virtually no clothes. Mary and I were there a few years ago… does YC Micalvi still have hot showers? 🙂 Hang in there… you have already gone further faster then most if us.


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