South Atlantic Bliss

29S 33W

The great sailing continues. 5 knots of wind, 6 of boatspeed, basically on course. Could be going faster if I emptied the ballast tank and had racing sails. With her crazy sail area to displacement ratio of 45 and relatively narrow waterline beam, Sparrow is bliss in these conditions. Very exciting to be north of the 30 degree parallel! Recife is at 7S, so still a long way to go but more than halfway there!

I get more time on deck today, putting my chair in the shade while daydreaming and reading. It’s a good day when all you have to do is finish a book and admire the changing scenery with sooty shearwaters. The shearwaters have been with Sparrow for some days now, I zone out watching them perform their graceful ballet in the swells. My skin is telling me I may be getting too much vitamin D.

A little drama yesterday. Wind popped up to 20 knots and Sparrow was romping comfortably at 12-14 knots. I looked down into the cabin and noticed water under one of the windows forward. “That’s weird, a window leaking?” I thought to myself. A few minutes later after opening the electrics cabinet, I see a stream of water spraying out of the kelp cutter tube. Turns out someone had tried to fasten the electronics cabinet directly to the tube by putting holes in it. Fine if Sparrow is not moving, but move fast enough and seawater will rise up the tube. I slowed Sparrow down to under 10 knots by deep reefing, then plugged the hole with a screw and butyltape. Then noticed still more water is leaking down the tube. I remove a holding bracket and yes, find two more holes in the tube hidden under a bracket with water spraying out. Keep in mind this is where Sparrow’s main 12 volt distribution panels are, along with all electronics, including VHF, AIS, Radar, radar reflector, battery monitor, clocks, barometer, NKE instruments. This water ingress has been a major source of problems. Indeed yesterday my voice capabilities are now shut down. The satphone charger succumbed to the seawater, along with the phone used for the main satcom system.

Stunning that there were 4 different direct leaks with that tube, including the deck penetration. Stunning that whomever built it didn’t see it coming, and left the holes in the tube. One of the niggling projects in the back of my mind before I left was to move the entire electronics cabinet over to a proper nav station to starboard, and cut out and plug that tube. The interior could have a lovely table in the center with comfortable seating around it. It just seemed too much effort for little gain so I left the existing setup. The sea always finds your weaknesses. Pretty amazing I haven’t had more electronics failures. I don’t know whether to be mad at myself for taking so long to find all the leaks, or mad at whomever did this setup. It’s similar to the seawater flooding down into the aft compartment through the rudder bearing. A ridiculous setup that should never have been built. Another one of those niggling things that I didn’t address before I left. Anyway, Hopefully all is well there now, and I won’t have any more issues with seawater spraying into my electronics.

Shortly I will write a long post that describes everything that is going right and what has worked well. There is lots to discuss there.

Now off to enjoy the shearwaters, work on a book, and work on my sunburn.

One thought on “South Atlantic Bliss

  1. Hi Whitall,

    Not sure how you were charging your 9575.. but it will charge with the standard charger as well as with USB. So if you plug a USB cable into the adapter on the bottom of the phone and plug that into a USB charger you should be able to get the phone charging again.

    As for the Certus phone, If you happened to have any voip app on your smartphone you could configure it for the Certus VOIP PBX.


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