Sunday, 30 June 2019

Marshalls to Alaska Day 10: Steak at Sunset

Greetings,

We have had such benign conditions for the last few days that it is beginning to feel like we are on holiday!

The sea state continues to be calm, and we are doing a combination of motoring, sailing with genoa, and sailing with spinnaker. The flat conditions have opened up the upper deck to the older kids, who have been finding shady nooks to read or do crafts away from the confines of the cockpit. We have all commented that this is the longest stretch of relaxed sailing that we have enjoyed in our seven years of cruising. In general, sailing has been hard work, and the means to an end, but it has not been either relaxing or enjoyable. This is a nice change!

Of course, there is really no such thing as a holiday at sea, so Max spent the latter part of the afternoon transferring diesel from some of our jerry cans into our aft tank. Even with the siphoning pump this can be a messy evolution, so we try to take care of it when the sea is slight. Watching the bits and pieces of garbage floating by, we are reminded of an individual in Mexico who recommended stocking up on diesel and then tossing the empty containers over the side. Thankfully, attitudes like his are in the minority! We expect to show up to Dutch Harbor with our collection of empty jerry cans carefully fastened to our upper decks.

We also put the kids to work this afternoon. We noticed some pin-prick holes in our spinnaker when we flew it yesterday, so Victoria and I laid it out on the foredeck to patch it with sail tape. We had already hung our collection of blankets on the lifelines to air out, so the narrow walkway outboard of the shrouds was quite congested with flapping fleece and billowing spinnaker, but we managed to work our way up towards the top of the sail, lifting the sock and then binding the sail with sail ties to keep it tamed. We hadn't quite finished the patching (although we had had a lovely mother-daughter connection) when it was time for me to go off-watch, so Johnathan took over as the 2nd pair of hands, and the two kids worked together to finish the handful of repairs. Unfortunately, we learned the hard way just how delicate the fabric was when it came out the worse for a brush against one of our shrouds (since covered with electrical tape) so Victoria and Johnathan had a little more work to do than I had first anticipated. After all the hours spent fixing our kites this season, it seemed quite familiar to be swabbing with alcohol, cutting rounded patches to size, peeling backing paper, and rubbing thoroughly to create the bond!

Our dinner tonight had travelled a long way to be on our table - all the way from NZ to be exact. When I provisioned last year, I included a few packages of nice steaks for special occasions, and we still had one in the freezer. When I noticed this while taking inventory back in Majuro, I determined that steaks were compact enough to remain in the freezer for the first half of the passage (unlike the roast chicken, and the extra large package of fish that would do too many meals for an at-sea menu, that were served up in Rongerik). I decided that they would be ideal for a nice dinner during the forecasted calm period between the trade winds and the variables. I didn't know at the time that I would have my choice of so many nights on which to serve them! In true passage-making style, we accompanied the steaks and bbq onions with instant mashed potatoes, canned corn, and bean sprouts :) With the sun setting beside us, and all five of us gathered together in the cockpit, we truly had saved these steaks for a special occasion.

One of the things we noticed when we first arrived in the tropics was how quick the transitions were from daylight to darkness. One moment we had full sun, the next it had dropped below the horizon, and the next it was pitch dark. Conversely, as we sail north, we are noticing and appreciating the return of twilight. Especially as the moon has waned, and we have had more hours of darkness in which to stand watch, we are thankful for the extended light that comes with northern sunsets. This has been a noticeable change over the last 3-4 days, and of course, it will only increase as we continue north. We will have to be disciplined with our evening watch rotations based on the clock, as our usual approach of having dinner over and watches started by sunset will not give Max much sleep!

We have been marking distance milestones with chips on this passage, but Max and I each marked a milestone of another sort this week: 30 years ago we both joined the Canadian Armed Forces. No new member really knows what they are in for, but I especially would never have predicted that I would find myself 30 years later crossing the Pacific in a sailboat. We are glad of our time in uniform, and send greetings to our friends and colleagues across the country who are marking similar milestones.

We expect our at-sea holiday feeling to continue for another few days: the winds are expected to be light for another 6 deg of latitude (at least 360 nm of sailing) before they fill in.


Love to all,
Elizabeth

******
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At 2019-06-10 12:32 AM (utc) SV Fluenta's position was 29°49.91'N 166°37.48'E
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At 2019-06-10 12:32 AM (utc) SV Fluenta's position was 29°49.91'N 166°37.48'E

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Marshalls to Alaska Day 9: Sperm Whales! (and Tuna and Boobies)

Greetings!

Today was an extraordinary day.

I was wakened by the sound of silence this morning: Max and the kids shut down the motor and hoisted our spinnaker (without needing any assistance from me - hooray) and the boat glided through the water in barely any wind. Whereas it had taken a couple of tries yesterday, it went up perfectly the first time this morning.

A couple of hours later, I came up on deck to great excitement - we had a pet Tuna, nicknamed "Sashimi" swimming and playing in the shade of our bow. Every once in a while it would swim away, do a few jumps, and then it would take up its position again. He followed us for the entire morning and much of the afternoon. He didn't mind having his photo taken from the air, but he objected visibly when we dunked the GoPro beside him for a closer look :)

We don't generally drink coffee on passage, but this morning's calm conditions gave us the feel of a lazy Sunday, so we pulled out our snazzy Aeropress that my brother gave us for Christmas, and in a rare occurrence of both being on watch at the same time, Max and I each enjoyed a morning coffee under clear blue skies and bright sunshine.

In between sips, Max was scanning the horizon when he saw what looked like breaking waves just ahead of us. This is the kind of thing we look for when there is a reef nearby, but there is no land near us for hundreds of miles in any direction. The sea was bright blue and almost as calm as glass, with hardly any wave ripples to break the surface. A closer look revealed that we had happened upon two whales! The 'breaking waves' were lapping at their backs, and they were drifting lazily in our direction, breathing and blowing from their blowholes every couple of minutes. Given that we were under sail, and spinnaker at that, we weren't very maneuverable, so thankfully, they swam parallel to our track. Only when they were right beside us did they begin to show any interest. We were hardly a boat length away, and they began to spy-hop and stick their heads out of the water to have a good look at us. They didn't seem startled or disturbed, and simply had a look at us and then carried on past our stern. Afterwards, the kids checked out our Marine Wildlife book, and determined that our visitors were two sperm whales. We all felt moved by this profound encounter, given the vastness of the ocean through which we are passing, and the odds against seeing whales at such a close distance. (On the other hand, we were also glad that we hadn't encountered them at night, or at an even closer distance under our hull!)

It is hard to top visiting with whales, but everyone has to eat, so given the flat conditions, I decided to make brunch of pancakes, bacon, eggs, and apple sauce, all in a bid to use up some more of the apples that are going too soft to eat :) Many times, my menu planning starts with what is available, and what needs to be eaten, and it takes shape from there. No one seemed to mind being fed bacon and pancakes in order to use up some apples!

Max and the kids continued to fly the spinnaker throughout the afternoon. We had winds from 4 kts to about 8 kts and it pulled the boat along smoothly. Johnathan spent some time trimming, and it was nice to watch him expanding his skills. The colours in our spinnaker match the colours of the sky, so it is beautiful to see.

Victoria spent much of today with a needle and thread in her hand. She had decided that our lifeline netting needed repair, so she took it upon herself to fix it.

We have begun to notice pieces of garbage floating by, perhaps because the water is so blue and calm that it is easy to spot anomalies in the surface that we would miss in rougher conditions. Sometimes larger pieces will have schools of fish collected underneath (as with our little tuna, likely attracted to the shade).

In our last wildlife report of the day, the kids were quite fascinated by the way the boobies, the same birds as we saw hundreds of miles from here in Rongerik Atoll, dive to catch fish: they come down to the water on a sloping trajectory, pass the spot where they want to fish, pull up a little, then turn and corkscrew-dive vertically to catch the fish in the water.

This night watch has been another magical, starry night (although I must admit that I am ready for the winds to fill in and move us towards Alaska a little faster than 2 kts!!) Sailing does indeed keep us rooted in the present moment; the wind and the seas are as they are, and we must adjust our sails and our attitudes accordingly. At any given time, we have either 400 or 1000 hours of sailing left to go before Alaska! As the distance to go has counted down from above 2,000 to the 1,900's we have had fun reminiscing about the various historical events that took place in each of the 'years' on the display. When we got to the years when we met and got married, it was humbling to be reminded that 'that was a loooong time ago' :) Of course, we had chips at supper to mark the 2,000 nm to go milestone.

Every extraordinary day has to come to an end, so on that note, I will wish you a good day in your own time and place. Time for a watch change.

Love to all,
Elizabeth
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At 2019-06-10 2:45 PM (utc) SV Fluenta's position was 29°00.68'N 166°33.63'E

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Friday, 28 June 2019

Marshalls to Alaska Day 8: Sailing on Glass

Greetings!

I woke briefly early this morning to the sound of the main winch and the sight of the main sail making its way up the track, its bright white a sharp contrast against a clear blue sky. After rolling and drifting all night, it was a pleasure to feel the boat begin to move under sail once more.

Max generally brings the main up by hand at the mast with either Victoria or Johnathan to take up slack at the winch, as the quickest way to break something is to do it with machinery, and our electric primary winches are a powerful pieces of machinery, but he had set it up with minimal wraps so that any resistance on the part of the sail would show up as slippage on the winch, and this system worked beautifully.

The sea state had come down overnight to the point that the 6 kts that were useless to us last night in the swell were enough to push us along nicely this morning, but by mid-day, the wind had diminished again, and it was time to bring out our Minerva Reef Spinnaker, so called because we got it from our friends at the NIRVANA sail loft (aka Gary & Julie) on our first visit there in 2014. It doesn't see a lot of use in the trade winds, but it was perfect in the light winds that we had this afternoon. [For sailing folks, the spinnaker is a 0.5oz A2 off of a J-120 race boat. A beautiful sail but too light normally for ocean passages on a cruising boat].

Our spinnaker is in a 'sock' and hoisting it for the first time in two years easily employed four people - Max on the bow, myself on the main winch, Victoria and Johnathan assisting as necessary (ie frequently!). All we had to do was use the halyard to pull the spinnaker and sock out of the bag, hoist it to the top of the mast, and then use the continuous line on the sock to pull it out of the way to reveal the blue and white spinnaker against the sky. It took a few tries to get all the lines sorted as it had not been flown since Max did some did some repairs, but soon we were in business. Flying the spinnaker even gave Max the excuse to sit on the dock box in the sunshine, to have good visibility for sail trim :)

After our night of drifting, we contacted our weather router for some input. Their advice: go North, motoring as necessary, and sailing when possible. We did some fuel calculations and determined the number of miles that we were comfortable motoring in this phase in order to ensure that we have sufficient diesel for the later stages of the journey, and this is how we have spent the remainder of the day, sailing and motoring. Other than a gentle ocean swell, the surface of the water took on the appearance of glass in the calms.

The flat conditions warranted something a little more interesting than usual on the dinner menu, so Victoria and I decided on pizza. She suggested making a batch of bread while we had the oven hot as well, so I woke from my afternoon off-watch to the scent of bread baking and the sight of home made pizzas on the counters. Have I mentioned what a delight it is to have a teenager who loves to cook ?!

My night watch turned into a lovely evening with Johnathan. We began with motoring, and I spent some time listening to the various details of some ideas that he is working on. When it became evident that my head for details was full, and that I was dozing off, he very gently asked if I would like to take a nap while he took the watch. I gave him instructions regarding the wind (shake me if we get up to 5 kts) and gratefully closed my eyes. A short time later, we had a consistent 4-5 kts of wind. If I have ever sailed in such calm conditions I have forgotten. The sky was absolutely clear and brilliant with stars, and the sea was flat. The only sound was the shush of the hull in the water, and the only sight was the odd scintillation of bioluminescence (we weren't going fast enough for the carpets of light that we had other nights). Even the sails behaved themselves, drawing nicely, and hardly slatting. We generally made about 3-4 kts of boat speed in 4-5 kts of wind, and we ghosted along down to about 3 kts of wind, at which point the sails became noisy, and I held my breath to see if the wind would come back or if the motor would have to be called back into action. For 3 1/2 hours, we sailed in these beautiful conditions. I haven't spent much time on canoe trips on silent lakes, but I could certainly understand the appeal after this evening; there is something magical about a huge body of water being so calm and silent.

My night watch didn't lend itself to time at the chart table writing, but just as I was feeling like I would never be able to leave the cockpit, the wind died again, and it was time to motor. The calm gave me just enough time to compose this and the winds may be coming back now that it is time to shake Max for the his watch.


Love to all,
Elizabeth
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At 2019-06-10 4:22 PM (utc) SV Fluenta's position was 26°01.93'N 166°45.13'E
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At 2019-06-10 4:22 PM (utc) SV Fluenta's position was 26°01.93'N 166°45.13'E

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Thursday, 27 June 2019

Marshalls to Alaska Day 7: Thunder and Lightning and Gummi Bears ... into the doldrums

Hello!

We celebrated leaving the tropics and heading for bear country this afternoon with the tropical flavours of Gummi Bears :) Given that we were in an all-hands dodging squalls region of thunder and lightning, that is about as far as our festive mood went!

After an entirely placid watch on my part, Max came on deck in the week hours last night to one squall after another. Our iPads, satphone, and other devices went into the oven for the first time since our passage from Tuvalu to Majuro at New Year's. I had seen a little bit of lightning downwind of us, but Max had lightning in all directions on his watch. We love to watch a good lightning storm from a house, but we feel very vulnerable as the tallest point for miles around when there is lightning at sea! We have been on the same tack for days (ie since Majuro) but Max had to tack back and forth to follow the shifting winds and to avoid the worst of the heavy clouds. He had some moonlight to see by, but more importantly he had radar to track their location.

By morning, the only real change was that we could see the black and ominous-looking thunderheads above us. With the shifting winds, the kids and I continued to tack the boat to avoid sailing into Mordor or towards South America (negative "VMG" is certainly hard on morale). Finally, we turned back onto starboard tack to dodge a big squall (from which we heard thunder once we got turned) and things settled out a little, and the afternoon actually offered some nice sailing.

We re-stitched many of the seams in our dodger and bimini over the last two seasons (some in house and some at the canvas shop) but somehow the seams holding up our bimini side panels had weakened. Victoria spent most of the afternoon a couple of days ago sewing the starboard one after the stitching ripped, and she, Johnathan and I took it in turns to sew the port one today. I had intended to wait until we had a calm (flat) period of motoring to do the job, but with the tacking overnight, it jumped up the queue today. Both kids like to sing, so it was fun to listen to them sing together while they worked (one on the Speedy Stitcher and one acting as 'bobbin').

One of my images of long-distance cruisers was that they baked bread and made sprouts on passage. We haven't gotten around to baking bread yet (not cold enough to want to warm the galley) but we have been making sprouts. I keep two jars going, so that at any given time we have a batch to eat and a batch to wait for. With only apples and oranges left for fresh produce on board, sprouts have become the standard ration at meal times to provide the vegetable alongside whatever main course we are having. Benjamin was a little suspicious of them at first, but he is slowly becoming a convert. We used to have a fancy contraption for growing them, but now we are just using two empty quart jars, and it is working just fine :)

The doldrums are known for light and unpredictable winds, and this is what we got after dinner. The wind slowly died to about 3 kts. I saw lightning in the distance, so I decided to motor for a while to give ourselves some distance, but 90 min later, there was still barely 5-6 kts (enough to make us try sailing again) but eventually we gave up. On a normal passage, we would probably motor at this point but on this passage, where we still have over 2,000 nm to go, our preference is to keep our diesel in reserve, so we have dropped our mainsail, and we are drifting with the current. For once, it is favourable, so we are making about a knot in the vague direction of Alaska. Hopefully there will be more wind in the morning!

On the bright side, I have rarely seen such gloriously bright bioluminescence as we have tonight! The contrast between the black water and the brilliant white of the bioluminescence in the wake of Fluenta was extraordinary. Each time the hull came down on the crest of a wave, another band of white moved out from our side. We might not be travelling fast, but it seems that we are travelling on a magic carpet of white lights.

I will end on that note - all is well on board.

Love to all,

Elizabeth
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At 2019-06-10 4:36 PM (utc) SV Fluenta's position was 24°36.09'N 166°32.07'E

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Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Marshalls to Alaska Day 6: Sailing out of the Tropics

Greetings,

We have officially left the Tropics - we have sailed north of the 23degN latitude. My feelings are bittersweet, as they have been for the last few weeks: I have loved cruising warm tropical locations, and I am really looking forward to being closer to home, in spite of the waiting cold.

I woke this morning to continued boisterous conditions: it was good that we had put up the staysail last night, and we continued to sail under a mottled grey blanket of cloud all day. It struck me how much of our assessment of conditions is relative; we were in benign conditions with winds in the mid-teens, and a bit of chop (probably 2m seas), which, if it hadn't been for the gloriously flat calm conditions we had enjoyed for the previous few days, would have been considered quite good :) On the bright side, we finally had some current in our favour, after counter-currents since Rongerik.

Sailing is certainly a good exercise in remaining in the present moment. We can plan for conditions to come, we can reminisce about conditions past, but we can only sail in the conditions as they are.

It seems that the conditions to come are ready to start getting colder. Our sea temperature indicator, which has been consistently at 29.3 deg C since we left Rongerik, spiked slightly to 29.6 for part of today, and then it began to fall, to 28.7 by this evening. We have crossed out of the tropics, and it is time to break out the socks. Even Benjamin (a.k.a. Capt Underpants), who has been wearing nothing but that stereotypical cruiser-kid uniform, coincidently spent the day in pants and a shirt, although this was apparently more related to the game he was playing than to the temperature.

At sunset, the forecasts were for continued staysail winds, but our conditions seemed lighter, and we could see that the heavy dark clouds under which we had been sailing for the last 24 hours seemed to be breaking up, so we elected to fly the genoa instead. This seems to have been a good choice, as the winds have dropped to below 10 kts and we would be standing still with the staysail. The sky above is dense with stars, and the Big Dipper is hanging above our port window, like a check mark telling us we are on the right track. All is well on board.

Love to all,
Elizabeth
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At 2019-06-10 3:21 AM (utc) SV Fluenta's position was 24°05.54'N 166°22.44'E

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Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Marshalls to Alaska Day 5: Passing Hawaii and Mexico

Greetings,

What a difference a day makes! We sailed for several days (ie seemingly forever) with 10-12 kts of wind, sunny skies and a calm sea, to the point that it was easy to be lulled into thinking that these would be our conditions until we sailed out of the tradewinds. At suppertime tonight, we entered a blanket of clouds (not unlike the convergence zone clouds we sailed under on our way from Tuvalu to Majuro after Christmas) and the winds ratcheted up to 15 kts or so. This is not much of a difference, but it was enough to prompt us to furl our genoa and hoist our staysail while we still had light.

Having finally learned that having someone on the foredeck when we are bashing to windward is no fun, we turned downwind and immediately the boat's motion eased. Max quickly removed the sail ties on the staysail, then he hoisted it from the mast while Victoria took up slack on the halyard at the winch in the cockpit. A few turns on the winch by Victoria to tighten the luff, a few cranks on my part to sheet it in, and we were back in business, ready for the winds that the night might bring.

Backing up to last evening, even as I was at the chart table writing about the clear starry moonlit skies, the clouds were gathering for Max's watch! He had one squall after another for the rest of the night, just reminding us how quickly conditions can change. The morning was a little calmer, and Victoria and I spent some time singing from some of the songbooks we have aboard. (This is especially enjoyable as I had anticipated singing from them regularly, and it has instead been a rather rare occurrence).

I also spent part of the morning watch playing a board game with Benjamin. He spends most of his days occupying himself, or playing with Johnathan, so when he asked to play a game specifically with me, I realized that this was just as much a part of my own to do list as the sink full of dishes that were calling my name. It is very easy on passage to be 'close but yet so far' when it comes to spending time with him. On the bright side, he has been making his way to the cockpit in the evenings at the start of my after-supper watch, where he has been peacefully falling asleep in my lap. I love knowing that he will find a way to get his mama-time one way or the other! Johnathan has also been my capable assistant on the evening watches; it is nice to have a second pair of hands at the ready :)

We stocked up on apples and oranges in Majuro, and some of our apples have gotten past the point of good eating. It struck me that this was as good an excuse as any to make an apple crumble. Along with sweet & sour meat on rice (no one cares about making meatballs at sea), this was on Victoria's to do list this afternoon while I was off-watch. It is quite delightful to have a capable teenager on our crew!

We spent a little time latitude-checking on the chart today - we are now past 20degN, which means that we are in line with Hawaii, and about the same latitude as Benjamin's birth place in Puerta Vallarta, Mexico. Our little 'patas saladas' (salty feet) has completed his southern trajectory and is sailing into Northern latitudes for the first time :) It will be fun to watch our position creep up the Mexican, US, and Canadian coasts until we reach Alaska (and start to work our way back down again).

When we sought out warm layers for the colder leg of the trip, I reached out to Woolx.com. They were kind enough to send us some heavyweight merino wool for later on in the passage, but they also sent me a beautiful turquoise lightweight merino/spandex top for this tropical segment. It has become my go-to top for the cool-but-not-cold evening watches. I suspect that as we leave the tropical latitudes it won't be long before I am covering it up with a jacket, but at the moment, it is nice to have one shirt which is cool enough for the afternoon sunshine, but warm enough in the evening breezes. Thanks, Woolx!

The overnight forecast of about 15 kts of wind has proven quite accurate, so we are in boisterous but not bothersome conditions. We are certainly glad that we stowed our big anchor below at the start of the trip, as we have regularly been burying the bow in the waves as they move forward to greet us, and the anchor would be acting like a big scoop adding to the forces on the rig (and the noise in the boat). We expect another day of these conditions before we reach the light and variable winds that await us at the edge of the tradewind zone. After that, it is anyone's guess, but the current forecast is for a period of downwind sailing to begin with. That will be nice after a week of close reaching :)

Love to all,
Elizabeth
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At 2019-06-10 7:30 PM (utc) SV Fluenta's position was 21°46.36'N 166°43.74'E

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Monday, 24 June 2019

Marshalls to Alaska Day 4: Squally Sunday

Greetings!

What a lovely day!

Victoria and I earned our keep on our morning watch: we found ourselves in Squall Alley (an unusual place in the daytime - squalls normally hit at night) and all morning we were reefing and easing, dodging squalls, sailing under big storm clouds, or drifting along in 6 kts of wind in their aftermath. It was a surprisingly enjoyable mother-daughter adventure, and it wasn't long before we felt like we had hit our stride, bearing off to reef, hardening up to sail through the trailing edge of the squall, or slowing down to let most of it pass in front of it. Somewhat analogous to the 1980's video game of 'Frogger' dodging traffic.

By early afternoon, we were either through the squall zone of the heat of the day had steadied out the weather, as the afternoon shift was much calmer for Max and Victoria, with glorious sunshine and the moderate winds that keep the boat moving at about 7 kts in calm seas.

With the Speedy Stitching done on the starboard side of the bimini yesterday, Victoria was able to turn her attention back to her first love today - finishing a knitting project. In this case, it was the second half of a pair of mittens she made for Johnathan (she made something with wool from Fiji for each of us in preparation for Alaska). She has now begun sketching out the pattern for her next project on graph paper.

As the sky darkened after sunset, I felt a surge of gratitude and comfort to see the Southern Cross lit up clearly behind our stern in the cloudless sky. I know that as we sail north, this familiar companion will drop onto our southern horizon, not for us to see again until another adventure calls us back to the Southern Hemisphere. Each day that I can still see it seems like a gift from another time and place. As we look ahead, we can see the Big Dipper drawing us home to Canada. The Marshall Islands are one of the few areas we have cruised where we could see both constellations at the same time, making it a very special place, indeed.

Johnathan, Benjamin, and I had an idyllic watch, a rare mom/boys chat that extended through the evening. Once Benjamin fell asleep, I carried him down the stairs and transferred him to the aft bunk (I marvel now at how many transfers like this I made when he was a baby/toddler - it is no easy feat to get a sleeping child down the companionway stairs without either of us falling or banging our heads on the walls) and with no moon until after midnight, Johnathan and I continued to contemplate our transition back to home and school under the gaze of millions of stars. Somehow the constancy of the stars, and the serenity of the tonight's calm sea, remind me that in the grand scheme of things, we are all part of a much bigger picture than our own immediate cares and concerns. These are the nights that draw us from our homes to go to sea!

The only landmark on our route at the moment is Wake Island (formerly Enenkio Atoll), a good 500 nm from pretty much anywhere else in the Marshall Islands. My understanding is that the final test for traditional Marshallese navigators was to complete the round trip to Enenkio and back, an extraordinary accomplishment by any measure. As for us, we put a big red circle on our chart to make sure we would give it plenty of clearance, as it is now a US government site, and visitors are not welcome. The winds seem to be conspiring to bring us there, as they have dropped to 6 kts post-squall, but I suspect that this will be short lived.

Speaking of navigation, you may be curious about the direction our track takes as we head towards Alaska, apparently via Wake Island and either Japan or Russia. We are maintaining a pretty constant wind angle of 45deg apparent (close reaching), and the trade winds are from the North East, sometimes veering to come from the East. We are making as much northerly progress as we can through the trades, and then once we reach the variables (somewhere north of or parallel with Hawaii) you will begin to see our track point a little more directly towards Dutch Harbor, Alaska. In the meantime, we celebrate when we get within 10 degrees of our desired course!

Love to all,
Elizabeth
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At 2019-06-10 12:09 AM (utc) SV Fluenta's position was 20°06.48'N 166°49.98'E

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Sunday, 23 June 2019

Marshalls to Alaska Days 1-3: Rongerik - Dolphins, Rainbows, and Sunshine to Start

Greetings,

It is now our third evening at sea. I thought I was ready to compose an email on the first night watch, but my stomach quickly proved me wrong! Last night, there were just enough squally clouds on my otherwise clear and starry watch to keep me in the cockpit, and so now we are into the sunshine of Day 3 (and then the moonless, starriness of night 3, as this took longer than expected to write!)

On that note, I would suggest that you go grab a cuppa, as we have a lot of catching up to do!

Since I last wrote, we spent about 10 days at Rongerik Atoll, where we were able to take care of some maintenance issues, catch up on sleep, and enjoy a last stint of tropical activities with the kids.

Anyone watching our Predictwind tracker on our way north from Majuro would have seen that we seemed to be lurching and careening all over the place. This turned out to be because we had applied silver insulation to the ceiling panel above our Iridium GO device, which has an internal GPS antenna: the secondary effect of making the boat warmer was jamming our own signal! Needless to say, we removed this silver panel in Rongerik, and everything returned to normal for our tracker :)

You may remember that I spent Mothers' Day 'lying around' (rebedding dozens of deck fittings in the ceiling of our cabin). On Fathers' Day, it was Max's turn: he spent the day lounging on a duffel bag full of winter layers on the floor of the aft cabin, reaching the full length of his torso deep into our shaft compartment to deal with a diesel leak. It started the way many maintenance surprises do: he opened the compartment to change a filter for our water maker and was greeted with an unwelcome smell of diesel. Closer inspection revealed that our electric 'bleed pump' was leaking. Since we have a manual lift pump elsewhere on the engine, we were able to do without the faulty pump, but it was only valved into the system on one side. The used spare fitting that we had at hand to block the remaining hose turned out to look the same but have incompatible threads (a metric/imperial refit, we think) so we had to scavenge in our bolt tray for something suitable. We found exactly one bolt fat enough to fit, and with the proper fine threads - a lone titanium bolt that was unlike anything else in the tray (likely a spare to mount our genoa furler). Given that refitting the furler would never be an at-sea repair, we felt pretty safe in using this bolt with some thread lock to stop up the engine hose. As Max carried out the repair, the refrain 'we could have been at sea, we could have been at sea' kept going through my mind: had the pump waited a few more days to leak, Max would have been working in a compartment with moving steering cables, a spinning shaft, and lunging seas. Sometimes the randomness and relentlessness of these faults gets to me, but I always remind myself that somewhere there is a blessing in the midst of it all! At least we weren't at sea when this pump failed.

As ever with an old boat, the Fathers' Day Diesel Fix was but one of many jobs waiting for us. Others included re-filling our compass with lamp oil (it has a minor leak, and so this is a regularly occurring job, and now a standard teamwork effort between Max and Johnathan), and re-setting the gasket material on one of our hatches that had leaked while we were underway from Majuro. We used our water-towed generator on our way north, and found a big chafed patch near the propeller, so this needed at a minimum a new knot, and because we had another line available, we decided to replace the whole thing. It is a bit of a mystery to us as to why it was chafing (we have used it in that configuration many times before without issue) and we will check it regularly when we deploy it on this passage. The routine is usually to deploy the generator at night and fishing lines during the day, which gives a chance for daily inspections. We had inspected our off-shore jackets in Majuro, and deemed them suitable to wear for another season, but on inspection in Rongerik, they seemed to have aged again in the cupboard. We ended up treating them with the same waterproofing that we use on our Sunbrella bimini, and crossing our fingers that they will keep us warm and dry until we can replace them in Alaska.

I gave the kids an arts & crafts teamwork project one afternoon: their job was to take silver bubblewrap and 3" fibreglass insulation, and make 'doors' for the forward head and V-berth that we can velcro to the walls once the boat starts to get cold. I enjoyed standing back and watching the measuring, cutting, and figuring that went on, and by the end of the afternoon, we had two doors ready, snuggly rolled up like silver bedrolls to keep them compact until they are needed. They each have a wide front piece to tape to the wall and a narrower thick piece that will exactly fit in the door. When the time comes, we will use sticky-back velcro to stick them up. We also gave Victoria the job of painstakingly cutting pieces of bubble wrap to the size of our hatches. These will be spritzed with water and the surface tension will keep the bubble wrap layer fastened to the hatches, which is purported to prevent condensation from building up once it gets cold. Time will tell, but anything will help :)

Max and I took the opportunity to pre-position the lines for our drogue so we wouldn't have to do it from scratch at sea, securing low-friction rings to the toe rails with spliced Amsteel for the lines to pass through on their way to the main cockpit winches. We now have a big bucket of line secured on our back deck, and a shorter coil of line secured to the port railing. An aside: if we get into conditions where the boat could potentially go dangerously fast, we would throw our drogue over the side on the main line, which would secure the drogue to our big starboard winch. We would then attach the second line to it with a rolling hitch and use the second line to center the drogue behind the boat and share the load onto the main port winch. The drogue would act like a drag chute, keeping Fluenta upright and steady in big following seas. We are also carrying a sea anchor which would be deployed off the bow on our anchor chain if the drogue fails or gives insufficient stopping power. We hope to stow all of this gear, unused and unneeded, when we get to Alaska, but it is nice to know it is at the ready if we need it.

Victoria and I each spent the better part of a day sewing. After hemming and taking in the waist on a pair of pants for Johnathan, I tried to convince my mom's old Kenmore sewing machine to stitch some bright orange webbing loops for us to use as sail ties for our staysail. Unfortunately some combination of operator error, thick UV thread, fat needle, and grit in the gears (despite a new oil job that morning) prevented this from happening, and after many frustrating tries, I gave up and turned to my trusty Speedy Stitcher, and had the three loops done in an hour. So it goes. We gave that machine to my mom for Christmas in 1976, so it has certainly worked its way through its share of thick fabrics over the years, and I suspect it just needs some kind of tune-up or adjustment after seven years at sea. As for Victoria, her job was to add a piece of extra velcro to the 'doors' of our rain enclosure. It turns out that Velcro is nasty stuff to sew (the prickles shred the thread) so she covered her work with a piece of plastic bag, and had no more issues :)

One other piece of emergency equipment that we added for this trip was a set of cold water Immersion Suits. We took an hour one afternoon to practice putting them on (as per the warranty requirements). We found it quite hilarious to be dressed as five floppy red penguins on the foredeck in the tropical sunshine!

I had had the 'cupboard shuffle' on my to-do list in Majuro, but it had been trumped by all the heavy maintenance I found myself doing instead, so in a 'better late than never' sprint, I shuffled all the food, clothing, and bedding stores around so that winter clothes and easy food would be close at hand, and summer clothes and raw ingredients would be more deeply buried. This only takes three lines to write, but it took me about three days to complete! Every can locker in the saloon was emptied, and the maximum number of instant soups and canned dinners were put there (divided between port and starboard so that on any tack we could make a quick meal). All my usual supplies (canned beans, tomatoes, corn, etc) were relegated to crates in the 'pantry' (aka forward head) for a time in the future when we feel like cooking again. The winter duvets were aired and put into duvet covers, the four big Fiji throw cushions where they had been stored for the off season were stuffed with summer clothes, and the duffels of winter gear that we had ordered online in Majuro were put at ready use in each person's clothing locker. There were moments when I wasn't sure where it was all going to go, and it was with a great feeling of relief that I realized that I had reached the end of that job!

It has been weighing on my mind for some time that all this winter gear was going to come downstairs wet and dripping while we are on passage, so we put some time into figuring out how we are going to hang and dry our foulies once we hit the cold weather. Victoria rigged quite a spider's web of lines in the aft head so that we could hang jackets and pants, we hung hanging lines from our louvers in the doors for socks, and we even ran a dead-end coil of heater hose (used for bleeding our system and tall enough to reach from the bathroom floor out the window to the upper deck) around our towel rack to increase the warmth in the aft head. Johnathan lashed a long piece of wood to the legs of our saloon table from which we will hang our damp boots (you can picture a Christmas mantel hung with stockings, only lower down under the table).

Johnathan loves to tinker with tools and bits of wood, often making modifications to items he has crafted in the past. When he wasn't tasked with a boat job, he could be found at his temporary workshop bench: generally this meant a corner of the saloon table, but when that was taken over by sewing, it meant the three middle companionway stairs (kind of a narrow vertical workspace). Anyone going up or down has learned long ago to watch out for plates or Lego, thanks to Benjamin, but now we needed to watch out for files, drills, and knives as well. I admire Johnathan's ability to carve a workspace out of nowhere, and to concentrate on his projects in the midst of many other jobs going on around him!

With all these changes big and small on board, I must admit that my favourite is one of the simplest: after seven years of trying not to get clobbered by our toilet seat, especially on starboard tack or rolly seas, we finally have a way to hold it in the upright position on any tack :) We secured a short piece of bungie cord to the wall behind the toilet, Victoria added a little pull-cord handle to it, and when the lid needs to be held upright, we just slip it behind the bungie and it stays put. Benjamin is probably the most grateful, as a falling lid comes at just the right point to catch him on the head, but all of us have exclaimed at both the simplicity and the effectiveness of our solution :)

Cruising may be 'maintenance in exotic locations' but thankfully our stopover was not all maintenance. During our first few days at Rongerik, the winds that would have made progress to windward unpleasant in Fluenta were perfect for kiting. Everyone had a go, and I was happy that our skills had not become too rusty during our work period in Majuro. Given the remoteness of our location, we were pretty conservative in our activities, kiting one at a time, and keeping the rescue dinghy at the ready. I got to try out my new Slingshot kite (shout of thanks to fellow cruiser, Philip, for arranging the order when we were off-grid in Ailuk and my old DNA blew up its internal bladder). As with any new equipment, it has brought the challenge of a learning curve, but I was grateful to see its turquoise and purple (angel?) wings flying above me in the clear blue sky. Max got his exercise kiting a mile upwind to play on the waves coming over the outer reef, and then had an enjoyable downwind run back to the beach; after that, he stayed closer to the beach working on jumps and turns. Both kids launched and got on their feet almost right away, and were able to control their kite enough to kite into the deeper water and back to the shallow sandbar where one of us was waiting to catch them and help them walk upwind to the beach to go again; on the days that I hadn't quite got the hang of my new kite, I got my fitness through the aquacize aspect of walking upwind in thigh-deep water with a kid and a kite in tow, only to do it all again a few minutes later.

The island where we were kiting is home to a seabird rookery (we counted at least four kinds of birds). They were curious, but not bothered, by us, and would fly overhead at about two feet above us, then hover to give us a better look, as if to say 'what kind of creature are you?'. The first time we came ashore, we had a flock of dozens hover above the dinghy just to look at us, but after a few days, they didn't pay much attention at all. They were quite taken by the pulpit on Fluenta, and there were generally two, and as many as four, boobies hanging out on our bow. We didn't mind them there, where they could poop overboard, but we chased them away from our boom, and willed them away from the top of the mast, where they could do real damage. They were quite fascinated by our wind generator, but thankfully kept their distance from it. Later in the week, Johnathan was able to take the 'big camera' ashore for some wildlife shots - there were numerous fluffy white boobie chicks in their nests, or on the ground trying out the wings. The chicks were surprisingly big: they seemed almost full-sized, identifiable as chicks only by their striking white fluffy feathers.

All this working hard and playing hard meant lots of hungry tummies. We ate our way through the excess in our freezer, making room for any fish we might catch at sea, and eating up any tasty food that might get confiscated at the US border. On the menu: roast chicken, fried fish, pepper steak, and curried chicken :) We finally used a can of pumpkin we were given when our friends on EXODUS moved home in 2016 - it made a tasty addition to our Chicken Soup. Victoria and Benjamin took advantage of the calm to bake us a chocolate cake (which allowed us to use up a couple of tubs of icing from the fridge). When we were in Mexico, I used to quiz Victoria on fractions as we baked, and now she does the same thing with Benjamin. Another gift from EXODUS was their Rummykub set; it has become popular for games night, and Johnathan made sure that we cleared the table of maintenance debris in order to play several times during our stopover. It is especially fun because being a grownup does not seem to bring us an advantage; in fact, when we tallied the end-of-season scores for our Marshall Islands season, the kids had won twice as often as the grownups!

A couple of years ago some fellow cruisers (SV SWIFTSURE) set up the "Rongerik Yacht Club" with a lifetime membership to those who stopped by this Atoll and placed a memento at the 'Club'. We planned a bonfire to explore the yacht club island, and were happy to be joined by another yacht who had anchored nearby the day before. I found it interesting to note that even though this island was only a few hundred yards away from the kiting island, instead of being home to nesting birds and crabs, it was inhabited by ants and rats. I imagine that there is a correlation there! Despite these four- and six-legged companions, we had a fabulous evening under a full moon, and added our hanging buoy to the collection left by other members, many of whom we had come to know during our two seasons in the Marshalls. When Johnathan found out that the skipper of the other boat was also knowledgeable about one of his favourite subjects he absolutely lit up, and the two of them had quite an animated conversation throughout the evening; this is the kind of adult-child connection that I have loved to watch develop through our years of cruising, where learning can happen across generations. We had an especially small-world moment the next day when he came aboard to look at our Predictwind weather data and we got talking about previous passages he had made. It turns out that he had been aboard our very boat 20 years ago when he buddy-boated with a boat called Blue-Jay. We still have the little Blue Jays on our bow to mark that era in our boat's life.

Max had expected to spend the better part of a day free-diving to clean the hull before we departed. He was pleasantly surprised to be joined by both big kids, and the three of them spent about three hours inspecting and cleaning the bottom. They found grass and little coral formations, but thankfully no barnacles. The little hard formations had to be individually scraped away to leave the maximum bottom paint and the minimum of life forms.

Finally, with everything on our "Rongerik List" checked off, the time came to leave. Like a big flywheel spinning back into motion, it took several days of concerted effort to get everything dried, shipshape, stowed, and ready. We almost left on Wednesday afternoon, but late on Tuesday we decided that a morning departure on Thursday would be better. This gave time for Max to go up the mast to inspect the rig and lubricate our new (and tight) mast track without the pressure of trying to get out the pass in the morning light on the same day. It also gave us time to fit in a snorkelling expedition, something we had almost scratched off our list for lack of time, and we were so glad we did! On one coral head, we saw more sea life than we had seen almost all season: three rather curious grey sharks, a big old sea turtle who came right up to Max, a small turtle who swam by without interest, several giant clams, including one half the size of our kids, and quite a number of large fish. There is ciguaterra in this lagoon, so the fish are entirely undisturbed by fishing, which means that they can grow through a natural life span, and were quite big. Before snorkelling, we took a picnic lunch to the next island along, where we took a walk around the island and Johnathan and an adolescent boobie communed with one another for quite some time; the bird was in the bushes at the edge of the beach, and Johnathan was able to quietly come within a few feet, while they just looked at one another without moving. This is a very special place, and we were blessed to be able to visit.

On the morning of our departure, we had towels blowing on the foredeck trying to make them as dry as possible before we left. Suddenly the heavens opened and a massive squall passed overhead dumping rain on us. Thankfully, we got the towels into the cockpit before they were totally drenched. When I went out a few minutes later to peg them in the newly-returned sunshine, I was heartened to see an entire rainbow centered over Fluenta's stern. In my tradition, this is a very good omen, and I decided to take it at face value as a blessing on our voyage.

To prepare for departure, we performed an evolution that we have never done before: we brought up our main big Rocna anchor, and then anchored again with our spare light weight aluminum Fortress anchor, in order to give ourselves time and stability to bring the Rocna on deck and then stow it below. I felt quite daunted by this prospect, envisioning a bashed hull or jammed fingers, but it all went very smoothly. We secured a spinnaker halyard to the roll bar of the anchor while it was in its usual position on the bow roller, then I eased out quite a bit of chain while Max controlled the anchor's position, and Johnathan controlled the spinnaker halyard. We brought the anchor around to the side of the boat and then hoisted it aboard (no jammed fingers, and no smashed fiberglass!). Once the anchor was on the deck, we detached the chain and carried it downstairs to a waiting piece of plywood on the floor of the V-berth. Max had drilled four tiny holes around the perimeter of the space, and inserted amsteel loops with stopper knots on the bottom to act as eye straps. He used these amsteel loops to tie the anchor in place with line. We have heard horror stories of anchors being knocked loose at sea and damaging the bow of fiberglass sailboats, so it seemed like a wise thing to do and the reduced weight on the bow will help our windward performance. It also meant that we could drop our chain down below the deck and tape the opening closed (with just the retaining string on the end of the chain sticking out so we can pull it up when we need to). This arrangement also frees our anchor chain up if we need to deploy our sea anchor. It was nice to finish this move with a feeling that 'that wasn't so bad after all'! Once the Rocna was stowed below, Max and Johnathan used the capstan on our windlass to bring in the Fortress, which we secured on the stern, and then we were off!

Both Victoria and Johnathan took a turn on the bow on bombie watch as we sailed across the lagoon, while I was downstairs stowing the last of the loose items from counters and tables. This gave them a great vantage point to watch the dolphins who came to play with our bow wave as we sailed along. There were several of them, and they seemed quite delighted by our presence. What a blessing to have such beautiful creatures come to see us off :)

We exited the pass in the early afternoon, and hoisted our staysail and a reefed main, which were a good combination for the first 18 hours or so. We rollicked along in about 15-18 kts of wind, first in the lee of the lagoon, and then in the ocean swell. It was a good reminder of what close reaching at sea can feel like! Thankfully, these conditions were short-lived, and by the next morning, we were able to stow the staysail and continue to close reach with a somewhat furled genoa and reefed main.

The last two days have been carbon copies of each other - blue skies, slight seas, and comfortable winds. These are the conditions that sailors dream about! Fluenta seems to like this point of sail at 45 degrees to the apparent wind, and ever since we pulled out the genoa, we have had a boat speed around 7 kts. We have our autopilot set on wind-hold, and we will follow the wind until we sail north out of the trade winds. Sometimes we have been making our course for Dutch Harbor, but more often than not we are heading slightly northwest. This is as we expected.

Victoria spent much of today knitting a pair of mittens for Johnathan, but she put that project down this afternoon when the seam holding one of our rain enclosure panels to the bimini began to tear. She spent the next couple of hours with the speedy stitcher, closing the gap, and stitching much of the panel aft of where it tore. It looks like the thread (which was just re-sewn in NZ last year) had become sunburnt and weak. We will likely do the port side together tomorrow.

We spent a few minutes yesterday talking to Paul Karchut from CBC Calgary (tune into his weekend morning show on Sunday between 8:30 and 9:00 to hear us); we spoke a few weeks ago with Jerry West from CBC Halifax Information Morning. It is heartening and delightful to know that so many people are interested in and following our journey.

It is admittedly daunting to set out on a month-long voyage with three children across almost 3,000 nm; however, we are as prepared as we can be, and will take things one watch at a time until we get there. We left Rongerik with over 2,700 nm to go, and we have already had 'milestone chips' at suppertime tonight to celebrate that number dipping below 2,500; perhaps a more fun way to see things is that we will make our way to Alaska one bag of chips at a time :)

Thanks for your good wishes,

Love to all,
Elizabeth
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At 2019-06-10 10:11 PM (utc) SV Fluenta's position was 17°51.51'N 166°56.79'E

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Monday, 10 June 2019

Heading North !

[The first of the Liz's letters home from our passage north]

Greetings!

If you have been watching our Predictwind tracker, you will see that we finally made it out of Majuro Atoll after a bit of a false start. If you have been watching it closely, you might have noticed that we seem to be stumbling erratically. We have actually been sailing a surprisingly straight line but we think we might have jammed our Iridium GO GPS with some of the silver insulation we put into Fluenta's ceiling in preparation for the cold weather ahead. Once again, those 'secondary effects' have made themselves known, and rectifying this is now 'on the list'.

We were later than expected clearing customs on Tuesday: when I went to the office on Monday, the agent and I set a time of 1pm the following afternoon for him to come to the dock to stamp us out, but I found myself on Island time ... waiting until 4pm! He was very apologetic when he finally showed up, but given that this was the longest period during which I had 'just sat' since we arrived in Majuro in early April, that my provisions were being labeled and stowed by two teenaged elves onboard Fluenta, and that there was a steady stream of cruisers coming and going at the dock to chat with, it wasn't an unpleasant afternoon!

Accompanied by the sound of horns from a neighbouring boat, we slipped our lines a couple of hours later, and headed out to the moorings five miles away at Enemonet, where we had spent such a good time with the other kid boats over Easter. This late in the season, we pretty much had our pick of the moorings, and tied up just as the light was fading. After an evening and a day spent stowing provisions, we raised our mainsail and slipped quietly off the mooring just around 5pm Wednesday, with time to head through the pass before sunset. As I was taking 'one last photo' to post with our remaining internet, I was vaguely aware that all was not well in the cockpit. When I gave the situation my full attention, I found Max and Johnathan wrestling with the genoa furler: it was jammed, and the only option was to return to our mooring and have a look at it. At that moment, we had no way of knowing whether it needed a slight adjustment or a mail-order of new parts (which would have pretty much put a wrench in all our Alaska plans), so we simply ate an early dinner (mac & cheese, a popular passage-making first meal) and called it a night.

By 7am the next day, we had the genoa out on the deck, had hoisted Max up the forestay once to ease the head of the sail over a protruding set screw (easily tightened with a 3mm allen key at anchor, but much more difficult to deal with at sea), and had calls into the manufacturer and to our preferred rigger in NZ (Thanks Rob at NSR). Then began the waiting game, as we gave our contacts time to consider our situation. We couldn't really replicate the issue, and when he turned the furling drum, Max didn't notice any grinding or binding. The bearing seals seemed in good condition. We had noticed when we took the sail down that the halyard tension was less than normal, which would have put more of the weight of the sail on the bearings, but we didn't know if this would have been enough to cause our problem. Finally, by mid-afternoon, the calls had been returned, the heads had been scratched, and we were building a consensus that the furling unit was probably fine. We put the sail back up (once again hoisting Max aloft to ease the sail over a slight mis-alignment in the extrusions, with Victoria on the halyard winch, Johnathan at the foot of the sail easing it up the track and myself on the main winch controlling Max's elevation; Benjamin's contribution was to keep out of the way!). We made sure there was plenty of tension on the halyard, eased it in and out a number of times without incident, and decided that it was time to head North!.

It took several days into a relatively uneventful passage for everyone to get their sealegs back. We have spent the last two months on our mooring in Majuro working night and day to effect repairs and improvements in preparation for our trip, so our bodies complained a bit at the constant movement of being at sea (despite the relatively benign conditions!). We celebrated our escape from the 'gravitational field' of Majuro with our first bag of "milestone chips" once we were out of the pass and truly on our way. (In the Maritimes people eat "storm chips" when they are storm-stayed at home with bad weather; we eat 'Milestone chips' when we have something to celebrate ... I have bought bags and bags of chips in preparation for this passage!)

Our wind generator self-destructed on our return to Majuro back in April, so we have been listening to the sound of our gas generator pretty much once every day. The first charge controller we received from our supplier seemed to have a fault that kept us from making power so we had them send us another one. Just in case there was an issue with it as well, we agreed with their suggestion to include a basic rectifier. When the second charge controller didn't work in our system, it was the rectifier that we finally installed. It is a little more manual of a system (eg we have to shut it down with the big brake switch if the wind goes over 27 kts or the wind generator will overheat) but otherwise it is working fine. Coupled with our water-towed generator, which we deployed for the first time in a couple of years, we were pretty much holding our own power-wise on this passage, and we could leave our gas generator snuggly tied in its place on the back deck.

For once, our course was not hard upwind, so Fluenta has been speeding along. Victoria has been a constant daytime presence in the cockpit, while Johnathan has been on 'Benjamin duty' downstairs. We have decided to 'pull over' in Rongerik (an atoll near the very north of the Marshall Islands) to make a few repairs (including a leaking window gasket that lets in just enough water over the starboard bench to make its occupant feel like they are in the cockpit and some rigging issues) and to wait for a good weather window to set out on the remaining distance to Alaska. To create a daylight entrance into the pass, we have had to slow our speed significantly (ie from over 7 kts to 3.5 kts). Even with a small main and miniscule headsail, Fluenta was still determined to move at 5 kts through the water, so we forereached back and forth in front of the western pass (and in the lee of the island) to wait for daylight.

We arrived in the Rongerik lagoon mid-morning on Sunday, and transitted the 7nm across the pass without incident. If we were coming back, we would time our arrival even later in the day, as the bombies were hard to see in the morning sunshine. Thank goodness for satellite imagery and bluetooth headsets!

We are pretty much alone here at Rongerik: the island is uninhabited by people. We have, however, seen dolphins, flocks of curious boobies and other sea birds, and even a shark, which was rude enough to hook itself on our lure as we came in through the pass! We had been hoping for a tuna for dinner, but we got quite a surprise when Max pulled the line near enough to the boat for us to see his catch - it was a little reef shark, which we had to very bravely cut loose by holding it steady and cutting the ring that held the hook to the lure. Max asked whether I wanted to lift or cut, and I was pretty quick to volunteer to lift! I held it steady near the toerail, and he got close to the teeth with his side cutters to cut away the hook. Thankfully, the shark seemed to be 'playing dead' and it didn't fight at all once we got it out of the water. There was no weight to the creature, and it swam away very quickly once we cut it loose. Hopefully it won't try that kind of bright green & yellow 'Halco fish' again!

For now, we will rest, repair, and enjoy the last of the tropical scenery before we head North towards Alaska.

All is well on board.

Love to all,
Elizabeth
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At 2019-04-01 6:37 AM (utc) SV Fluenta's position was 11°23.08'N 167°30.32'E

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Tuesday, 4 June 2019

Preparing for a Month at Sea - Onward towards Alaska

It is a long way to Alaska and our path will be longer than the red line shown due our usual crazy zig-zagging with the weather.
As you likely picked up from our previous blog posts, Fluenta and her crew are intending to leave shortly for Alaska.  Expected landfall is Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian Islands. The distance down the rhumb line is about 3000 nm but being on sailboat we rarely travel in a straight line.  Depending on the winds we are estimating a passage time of about one month.  On our way north we may stop at an atoll to check over the various repairs and adjustments we have made.

The last, very long, blog post talked about the maintenance we have done over the last little while.  Of course, other preparations like victualing - embarking food - are important too.

Loading up with food for longer adventures is not new to Fluenta but any cold weather sailing seems in the distant past.  I did not even own any shoes - other than flipflops - until yesterday.  Not to worry, we have been on a mail order frenzy for warm clothes and everybody is kitted out with new layers including some awesome merino wool clothing.  I am sure you will see pictures of the new gear in use when we get back into internet land on the other side.

After six weeks in the same location the kids built quite the climbing gym.  Unfortunately it had to come down if we are going to actually use the sails.

After six weeks in the same location the kids built quite the climbing gym.  Unfortunately it had to come down if we are going to actually use the sails.Add caption

Lightening up the load on Fluenta - Giving some books to the local library.  As five bookworms we somehow collect a lot of books.

and more load lightening.  One of two deliveries to the Canvasback Wellness Centre.

and loading up with diesel.  Lots of heavy diesel.   Getting less expensive diesel at a roadside fuel station rather than the overpriced fuel at the dock.

At the scenic dock. In total Johnathan and I hauled 23 jerry cans of diesel over four trips.

Lots of food onboard for the expected month at sea plus a big amount for "contingencies".  Here Liz has canned some meat.

As we have done for the last few years, we will usually post update on how we are doing, weather conditions, fishing report etc to Yachts in Transit daily on passage.  Our page on Yachts in Transit is here.

The Fluenta page on Yachts in Transit.  We try to update this daily on passage.
We also intend to blog more frequently while on passage.  Everything is transmitted over our Iridium Go so lots of text but no pictures.  You can also track our progress with the map at the top of the blog page.  It is updated automatically by Predictwind and, if you click the "settings gear" in the top left of the map you can see the forecast weather at our location.   With a change in Facebook policies we can no longer post directly to Facebook so you will have to check on the blog to see what we are up to.

The normal tracking map you see at the top of every SV Fluenta blog post courtesy of Predictwind's magic.

and if you select the "Gear" button shown circled in red in this picture, you can see Predictwind's forecast for our location.

As in previous years, a reminder that if you notice that the tracking is not working please do not revert to "panic stations".  There are all sorts of technical and operator issues that could cause the systems to not work.  If we do have an actual emergency we will activate the EPIRB(s) and PLB(s), use the SOS buttons on the Iridium Handheld or Go and/or call RCC directly.

Sigh ... not many tropical sunsets left for us.

Monday, 3 June 2019

More Adventures in Maintenance - A Summary of the Last 12 Months


at the sunset of our travels ... another maintenance period ...
The saying goes that cruising is maintenance in exotic locations.  There is certainly a lot more to it than, that but the truth is that there is a considerable amount of maintenance to keep any boat - old, new, sail, power - operating.  Add in the fact that we live aboard as a family full time and that we cover a considerable number of miles every year (and it seems like the miles are rarely downwind in the trades) there is lots to keep up with.

We had two main maintenance periods this year: an unplanned but productive one in Fiji, and our recent one here in the Marshall Islands.

The Fiji haulout was precipitated by finding that one of our thru-hulls was ever so slightly weeping.  We were over in the NE side of Fiji in Savusavu preparing to head north to the Marshall Islands so instead we sailed (two days) over to the west side of Fiji to haulout at Vuda Marina.  There we replaced most of the thruhulls that had not been replaced the previous year in New Zealand.  Since we were out of the water anyway, and expecting to cover lots of miles to get to BC, we also redid the anti-fouling and serviced the Maxprop.  We wrote it about is here:  Scheduled Birthday & Unscheduled Haulout

December -  living the glamorous cruising life in the boatyard in Fiji.

The Majuro maintenance period has been focused on preparing the boat for Alaska:

  • Catching up on rebedding deck fittings that have shown any slightest evidence of leaking.  Rebedding involves removing the old, usually metal, fitting from the deck, cleaning all the surfaces, and reinstalling the fitting with fresh adhesive.  This sounds easy, and it normally is, but the complication is that all the fittings are "thru-bolted" so that someone needs to access the nuts on the inside of the boat during the installation and re-installation.  Gaining this access means storage areas need to emptied and cabinetry removed.  You can imagine that this was lots of fun while we were still living onboard!  Often the bolts get mangled in the process, so we replaced most of the fasteners as we went.  I should have bought stock in "Ace Hardware" as I spent a lot of time there buying bolts, washers and nuts.  In fact, it appears that I have bought every 1/4" nut in Majuro!
  • Adding insulation to much of the boat and Hydrovent matting under the mattresses.
  • Adding a heat exchanger to the heater coolant loop so that we can use the engine to heat the boat and make hot water.  Thank you Sure Marine for all the help.  More to follow in a separate blog post on the heater project. 
  • Running the heating system to the front of the boat by running another 40' feet of hose and electrical wire, and drilling numerous new holes for them to run through.
  • Ensuring all the preventative maintenance is done to reduce dramas on the long passage north, including doing all the scheduled engine maintenance, even if it is early according to the schedule.
  • Days and days and days of re-stitching seams and sticking patches on our sails
  • Rebuilding our wind generator, whose charge controller died and then caused the rotor to overspeed, melting much of the wiring.  We spent a fortune on a shiny new charge controller that after hours of troubleshooting we found out was defective.  We now are using a simple bridge rectifier to connect our three phase wind generator to the 12 V DC circuit.
  • Troubleshooting, and eventually replacing the solenoid on, our autopilot (including flushing and replacing all the fluid) after it locked up while we were crossing the Majuro lagoon. 

It was rather exciting when the autopilot refused to disengage as we arrived into Majuro in January.  We replaced the solenoid and then a few months later it failed again.  Turns out the hydraulic fluid had developed its own ecosystem in the heat despite being less than two years old.  A fun job in Ailuk to flush the system out.  We bought out the entire stock of the appropriate hydraulic fluid that was available in Majuro !

Expanding the heater to the front of the boat.  Another 40' of heater hose installed while we were in Ailuk.

The temporary control panel for the heater system.  The controls are now mounted on a proper panel alongside the Webasto heater controls.
Liz up the mast sewing the leach of the genoa.  After a few hours we realised we needed to drop the sail and do it on deck instead.

Sewing the edge of the genoa back on deck (over a month later when the winds finally dropped).  Johnathan was a big help, and sewing is a great activity for one-on-one conversations!


Liz modeling her new Woolx shirt - and repairing the main.  There wasn't much of a seat close by, so she's perched on a jerry can with a little bit of insulation for a cushion.


Johnathan is quite a competent sail repairer.

Some long days ... using the Speedy Stitcher to repari the bimini.


Victoria adding a Dyneema chafe guard to one of our spinnaker halyards.

It was a whole-crew effort to replace the mast track insert - I went up the mast, Victoria fed it in at the base and Liz & Johnathan operated the winch.  Benjamin supervised himself out of the way.  Thank you Pompanette for the quick work getting us the replacement.


Melted wind generator wires.

Mostly replaced wind generator wiring (although I was not able to get the correct new brushes - I did get shipped the incorrect brush assembly though but that was not much help)

The old wind generator charge controller was likely the cause factor in the demise of the wind generator's wiring so we had a very expensive replacement shipped in.  Mounting it was interesting as it is slightly bigger so we needed to move where two of the solar charge controllers were located.  Then it turned out that the new charge controller was defective so we are just using a simple bridge rectified instead.


And then the rebedding ...  We were suspicious that this window was leaking a bit at sea.  Taking it out took an entire day followed by several days to repair the fiberglass before installing the window again.

Johnathan passing up another window to remount.  The adhesive - 3M 4000UV - gets everywhere.

More rebedding and winch maintenance.

and more rebedding ...

This photo got lots of attention on Facebook as this is how Liz spent Mothers Day.  Rebedding more deck hardware.

Beefing up one of the deck boxes after we found some dry rot.  Nothing a bit of epoxy cannot fix.

Johnathan taking apart the outboard's carburetor. 

and servicing his grandmother's old sewing machine.

and Benjamin helping by controlling the reverse switch.
Victoria trying to progress grade 10 while we still have internet despite the chaos around her.

Benjamin too is looking forward to the maintenance period being done.
Somehow despite working pretty relentlessly on this Majuro work period it has taken about six weeks.  That is a lot of rebedding ... It is getting hotter here - it is 30C (86F) by 0900 and the sea temperature is over 30C (86F) so it does not cool off much.

As we have done at regular intervals, please find below an output from our maintenance spreadsheet.  I have cleaned the data up a little and added colour codes showing whether is was an improvement, scheduled or other preventative maintenance or corrective maintenance (i.e. something broke).


Date Item
Category
12-Jun-18 re calibrate speed sensor and heading sensor - old speed 0.95
Electronics
12-Jun-18 compass fluid top up

12-Jun-18 hull/Prop clean - was already clean - light clean on prop Monthly
14-Jun-18 changed autopilot High rudder gain to 1.05
autopilot
16-Jun-18 corrosion control port alternator fuse

17-Jun-18 temp repair to aft injector leak
Engine
20-Jun-18 top up oil - from half on dipstick to full
Engine
20-Jun-18 leaking reefer cooling pump - replaced pump
plumbing
24-Jun-18 fix stbd aft cabin fan wiring
electrical
24-Jun-18 reefer - led's for reefer on, overpressure
electrical
24-Jun-18 check alternator belt tension 50 engine
24-Jun-18 engine air filter check 125 engine
24-Jun-18 check reefer thermostats - fix wiring to freezer thermostat
reefer
25-Jun-18 replace forestay lower cotter pin
Rigging
29-Jun-18 hydrofoil for 20 hp
outboard
29-Jun-18 outboard will not shift. Shifting rod adjusting nut stripped – machined new adjuster nut
outboard
02-Jul-18 adjust dingy hoist bridle
Rigging
04-Jul-18 secure mainsail leech line
sail
06-Jul-18 fix canvas bucket hoop
Sewing
06-Jul-18 reglue to SUP 'D' rings and ctr fin
SUP
10-Jul-18 build emergency kit for dingy - smoke flare, multitool, electrical tape, o rings, pull cord, strobe, whistle, first aid kit

13-Jul-18 hull/Prop clean - still clean Monthly
14-Jul-18 check fuel filter bowls Monthly Engine
14-Jul-18 check Honda outboard raise/lower mechanism
outboard
14-Jul-18 adjust reefer settings to slightly warmer - adjusted to 12F (-11C)
reefer
14-Jul-18 Mainfurl - add wraps
Rigging
14-Jul-18 Prop/shaft zincs - some loss on prop zinc 2 mon
24-Jul-18 2hp outboard stopped - replaced spark plug (BR7HS)
outboard
30-Jul-18 Domestic water pump leaking - replaced pump
plumbing
30-Jul-18 Pressure water filter 4 mon plumbing
30-Jul-18 replace handle for SUP pump
SUP
30-Jul-18 replace feet of swimming ladder

05-Aug-18 Battery water and clean battery top - aft - took 1 L for fwd and port bank. Stbd bank took none 45 days battery water
05-Aug-18 alternator x 3 and starter - check wiring 125 engine
05-Aug-18 check engine mount nuts 250 engine
05-Aug-18 check leak on engine raw water pump ?
Engine
05-Aug-18 engine water strainer 60 days Engine
05-Aug-18 Engine zinc - was maybe ok but replaced 60 days Engine
05-Aug-18 Oil cooler zinc - ok 60 days Engine
05-Aug-18 small leak oil cooler zinc
Engine
05-Aug-18 mainfurl - Grease the grease nipple on the aft end of the spar. 2 Mon Grease
05-Aug-18 Windlass - bimonthly 2 Mon Grease
05-Aug-18 clean reefer strainer and bowl 2 Mon reefer
05-Aug-18 check aft lower deck tie witness marks 12 mon Rigging
05-Aug-18 check furlboom axles
Rigging
11-Aug-18 replace hooks on big lure

12-Aug-18 tighten starter bank alternator
Engine
12-Aug-18 update polars - faster close reaching and slower deep downwind
IT
12-Aug-18 drain outboard carb
outboard
12-Aug-18 anchor shackle - check and replace seizing 3 mon Rigging
13-Aug-18 hull/Prop clean Monthly dive
13-Aug-18 Prop/shaft zincs 2 mon dive
13-Aug-18 check fuel filter bowls Monthly Engine
17-Aug-18 Autopilot - check bolt torque - tightened drive bolts and supports 3 mon autopilot
17-Aug-18 autopilot brush and hyd fluid check 3 mon autopilot
17-Aug-18 bleed heater
heater
17-Aug-18 remove kink in heater hose
heater
17-Aug-18 test Espar heater exhaust and plumbing connections 3 mon heater
17-Aug-18 check and lubricate steering cable 6 mon Lazerrete
17-Aug-18 Steering cable tightness - check quarterly 3 mon Lazerrete
17-Aug-18 reseal leak above furnace and autopilot motor
rebed
17-Aug-18 grease top bearing on rudder post - used corrosion X 3 mon Rigging
17-Aug-18 tighten stbd lower inboard davit bolt

22-Aug-18 find water leak - leaking from saltwater foot pump – closed seacock for water maker
plumbing
22-Aug-18 change speargun line to dynmea
spearfishing
31-Aug-18 Full charge of house bank Monthly battery
05-Sep-18 replace valve on 8m2 kite
kite
10-Sep-18 AIS resets by itself - sprayed plug with 2-26
Electronics
11-Sep-18 check up on outboard ? -cleaned out carb and increased idle speed
outboard
11-Sep-18 outboard tilt mechanism
outboard
11-Sep-18 tighten Honda outboard tiller handle
outboard
12-Sep-18 AIS - test voltage and plugs - all ok
Electronics
12-Sep-18 Oil (100 hrs) - 7.95L of oil 125 engine
12-Sep-18 Oil Filter Change 250 engine
12-Sep-18 Transmission oil change (every 400 hrs or annually) 2.36L 400 engine
13-Sep-18 check alternator belt tension 50 engine
13-Sep-18 Corrosion preventative for ignition key and engine kill knob 6 mon Engine
13-Sep-18 engine water strainer 60 days Engine
13-Sep-18 Engine zinc 60 days Engine
13-Sep-18 Impeller replacement 250 engine
13-Sep-18 Oil cooler zinc 60 days Engine
13-Sep-18 top up coolant - added 0.75 L
Engine
13-Sep-18 clean reefer strainer and bowl 2 Mon reefer
13-Sep-18 shim vang gooseneck
Rigging
14-Sep-18 backup hyd backstay adjuster with dynmea
Rigging
14-Sep-18 inspect lifesling 12 mon Safety
14-Sep-18 vacuum/clean wind gen controller 2 Mon
18-Sep-18 reseal around exhaust flange
rebed
20-Sep-18 #1 alt belt shredding - isolate #1
Engine
20-Sep-18 drain outboard carb Monthly outboard
24-Sep-18 Battery water and clean battery top- fwd - topped up water 90 days battery water
24-Sep-18 leak on stbd aft side of rhib - adhesive added to port and stbd tubes
rhib
24-Sep-18 corrosion control upper deck knives 3 mon Safety
24-Sep-18 check windlass wiring 90 days windlass
27-Sep-18 Replace #2 alternator fuse and clean fuse box
electrical
27-Sep-18 turn fancy not working fan to simple working fan - aft cabin
electrical
27-Sep-18 Replace al#1 belts Gates 9335x2 or Delco 17430
Engine
27-Sep-18 Replace alt2 belts Gates 9335x2 or Delco 17430
Engine
27-Sep-18 Replace mechanical bilge pump belts - Gates 9415
Engine
27-Sep-18 Replace start alt belt Dayco 17520
Engine
27-Sep-18 Windlass - bimonthly 2 Mon Grease
27-Sep-18 Windlass Service - preseason service - every 6 mon 6 mon Grease
27-Sep-18 dingy chaps repair
Sewing
27-Sep-18 check windlass oil level 3 mon windlass
27-Sep-18 check windlass wiring 90 days windlass
27-Sep-18 spray anti-corrosion – windlass motor shaft 12 mon windlass
27-Sep-18 Windlass - gear oil and seal - every 3 years 3 years windlass
28-Sep-18 cover for autopilot motor and espar furnace
Lazerrete
28-Sep-18 Grease autopilot rod end bearing 6 mon lazerrete
28-Sep-18 Grease rudder reference bearing 12 mon Lazerrete
28-Sep-18 inspect shaft seal and rudder boot hose clamps 6 mon lazerrete
28-Sep-18 rudder stops – check and replace rubber 12 mon lazerrete
28-Sep-18 clean watermaker pleated filter 2 Mon watermaker
28-Sep-18 clean watermaker sea strainer 2 Mon watermaker
28-Sep-18 Watermaker carbon filter 6 mon WM
28-Sep-18 Purge fwd water tank with chlorinated water

29-Sep-18 Battery water and clean battery top - aft - 60 days 45 days battery water
29-Sep-18 Check start battery 120 days battery water
29-Sep-18 check fuel filter bowls Monthly Engine
30-Sep-18 chartplotter laggy
Electronics
02-Oct-18 cct panel protectors for cct panel
electrical
02-Oct-18 fan not working on wind gen charge controller - temp fix - added external cooling fan
electrical
02-Oct-18 voltage drop to chartplotter - replaced connections behind wm panel
Electronics
02-Oct-18 ball valve for fresh water foot pump
plumbing
02-Oct-18 leak on fresh water foot pump
plumbing
02-Oct-18 replace salt water foot pump
plumbing
02-Oct-18 test float switch and high water alarm 6 mon plumbing
03-Oct-18 protective sheath around refrigerant lines near thermostats
reefer
03-Oct-18 raise fridge temp slightly - to 30F
reefer
03-Oct-18 knife mount

03-Oct-18 mount vacuum bracket in v berth

04-Oct-18 Full charge of house bank Monthly battery
04-Oct-18 replace switch and wiring to switch
electrical
08-Oct-18 alternator x 3 and starter - check wiring 125 engine
08-Oct-18 check alternator belt tension 125 engine
08-Oct-18 Reefer - return freezer temp to previous setting and fridge to 27
reefer
10-Oct-18 engine water strainer 60 days Engine
10-Oct-18 Engine zinc 60 days Engine
10-Oct-18 Oil cooler zinc 60 days Engine
10-Oct-18 small diesel leak aft injector
Engine
10-Oct-18 tighten alternator belts at 5645
Engine
11-Oct-18 replace start alternator and water pump belt
Engine
15-Oct-18 defrost/clean reefer
reefer
15-Oct-18 reglue rhib stem guard
rhib
15-Oct-18 remove objects in speed sensor

16-Oct-18 tensioner for engine driven bilge pump
Engine
16-Oct-18 test emergency bilge pump 12 mon Safety
17-Oct-18 rain catcher
Sewing
17-Oct-18 replace snap on port rain enclosure strap
Sewing
17-Oct-18 aft hatch support - helicoil

18-Oct-18 covers for exposed screws in propane locker
carpentry
18-Oct-18 Yamaha 2hp - annual service 12 mon outboard
18-Oct-18 icebox drain filter 4 mon plumbing
22-Oct-18 pulpit pedestal

23-Oct-18 repair RED SUP fin
SUP
24-Oct-18 replace alternator belts - large alternators
Engine
24-Oct-18 replace start alternator and water pump belt
Engine
28-Oct-18 Predictwind Iridium Go sim card

01-Nov-18 outboard choke stuck – SE valve removed
outboard
02-Nov-18 tighten alternator belts
Engine
02-Nov-18 Outboard – no cooling water – rerouted hoses
outboard
04-Nov-18 aft head plugged – replaced output hose from toilet to seacock
plumbing
04-Nov-18 replaced aft head intake flapper valve
plumbing
04-Nov-18 replaced aft head joker valve
plumbing
15-Nov-18 cockpit alarm light cover

16-Nov-18 Iridium handheld – GEOS
Electronics
16-Nov-18 Activate new sim card for Iridium Extreme
IT
16-Nov-18 drain outboard carb Monthly outboard
16-Nov-18 Fresh water flush 20 hp outboard
outboard
16-Nov-18 lubricate carb SE valve
outboard
16-Nov-18 prepare 2hp outboard for storage
outboard
16-Nov-18 leak from scupper and sink drain – replace hose
plumbing
16-Nov-18 Flush port scupper

17-Nov-18 check fuel filter bowls Monthly Engine
17-Nov-18 engine air filter check 125 engine
17-Nov-18 check and lubricate deck fill o-rings 6 mon plumbing
17-Nov-18 grease top bearing on rudder post 3 mon Rigging
17-Nov-18 Iridium Extreme – test GEOS
Safety
17-Nov-18 clean watermaker pleated filter 2 Mon watermaker
17-Nov-18 clean watermaker sea strainer 2 Mon watermaker
22-Nov-18 shorten main dingy painter by bridle
Rigging
24-Nov-18 Iridium Extreme does not do SMS
Electronics
24-Nov-18 Iridium Go - GEOS test
Electronics
24-Nov-18 check alternator belt tension 125 engine
24-Nov-18 soft shackle for preventor – one is missing
Rigging
24-Nov-18 bimini - water proofing 6 mon
25-Nov-18 fishing gear – new Halco and rehook squid
fishing
26-Nov-18 Lubricate and inspect steering chain 12 mon binnacle
26-Nov-18 mainfurl - Grease the grease nipple on the aft end of the spar. 2 Mon Grease
26-Nov-18 Windlass - bimonthly 2 Mon Grease
26-Nov-18 check windlass oil level 3 mon windlass
26-Nov-18 top up compass fluid

28-Nov-18 Window gasket – galley

28-Nov-18 Window gasket – saloon stbd fwd

29-Nov-18 install new AP20 display
Electronics
29-Nov-18 configure back up laptop

01-Dec-18 update Predictwind Offshore
IT
02-Dec-18 replace propane solenoid

03-Dec-18 BC servicing
dive
03-Dec-18 regulator freestreams
dive
05-Dec-18 hull/Prop clean Monthly dive
05-Dec-18 Prop/shaft zincs - replace 2 mon dive
05-Dec-18 Fix fan in V berth
electrical
05-Dec-18 install interim propane solenoid switch
electrical
05-Dec-18 engine water strainer 60 days Engine
05-Dec-18 Engine zinc 60 days Engine
05-Dec-18 Oil cooler zinc 60 days Engine
05-Dec-18 Service max prop 12 mon haulout
05-Dec-18 clean reefer strainer and bowl 2 Mon reefer
05-Dec-18 anchor shackle - check and replace seizing 3 mon Rigging
05-Dec-18 MOB light - new D cell x 5 12 mon Safety
05-Dec-18 replace batteries in MOB light
Safety
06-Dec-18 replace bilge pump thru hull
plumbing
06-Dec-18 replace engine thru hull
plumbing
06-Dec-18 check alignment of wind gen blades

06-Dec-18 resilicon instrument panel

07-Dec-18 Antifoul – 2x5L of Hempel paint
haulout
07-Dec-18 propspeed
haulout
07-Dec-18 replace wm thru hull
plumbing
07-Dec-18 clean reefer condenser 12 mon reefer
07-Dec-18 free up traveller block attachments
Rigging
07-Dec-18 windlass cover replacement
Sewing
07-Dec-18 add valve to salt water tap

07-Dec-18 aft burner thermcouple and left fwd burner overflow

07-Dec-18 clean stove orifices

07-Dec-18 resecure stern light pole

08-Dec-18 Full charge of house bank Monthly battery
08-Dec-18 toggle guard on AIS switch
Electronics
08-Dec-18 add shut off valve to fwd head
plumbing
08-Dec-18 aft head overflows from intake
plumbing
08-Dec-18 temp fan for aft cabin

09-Dec-18 Battery water and clean battery top - aft - 60 days 60 days battery water
09-Dec-18 battery equalization 6 mon electrical
09-Dec-18 check alternator belt tension 125 engine
09-Dec-18 engine air filter check 125 engine
09-Dec-18 Honda Outboard - Fuel Filter 12 mon outboard
09-Dec-18 outboard pull cord stuck
outboard
09-Dec-18 clean water tanks – shock treatment – 1L for tank 12 mon plumbing
09-Dec-18 replace drain on rudder post upper bearing housing
plumbing
10-Dec-18 little outboard – water ingress
outboard
11-Dec-18 Pressure water filter 4 mon plumbing
12-Dec-18 check AWA calibration
Electronics
12-Dec-18 Replace HF antenna standoffs
Electronics
12-Dec-18 top up oil
Engine
12-Dec-18 back up stbd spin halyard block
igging
12-Dec-18 Predictwind Tracking
IT
12-Dec-18 Outboard – runs rough and only runs with choke
outboard
12-Dec-18 McLube mast track
Rigging
12-Dec-18 rigging check – up mast
Rigging
12-Dec-18 tighen genoa luff set screw
Rigging
12-Dec-18 Clean/sanitize water jerry cans 6 mon Safety
12-Dec-18 calibrate barometer

13-Dec-18 check compass calibration
Electronics
13-Dec-18 clean bilge

14-Dec-18 Bilge pump float switch us
Safety
16-Dec-18 check Boat Speed calibration 0.95
Electronics
16-Dec-18 drain outboard carb Monthly outboard
16-Dec-18 Label – satphone numbers, cct panel

19-Dec-18 reseat key on aft head handle
plumbing
22-Dec-18 change solar panel settings for hot weather
electrical
22-Dec-18 lower Vcutoff for wind gen charge controller fan
electrical
22-Dec-18 alternator x 3 and starter - check wiring 125 engine
22-Dec-18 check alternator belt tension 125 engine
22-Dec-18 engine air filter check 125 engine
22-Dec-18 chafe on stbd jib sheet
Rigging
22-Dec-18 sew running block cover
Rigging
22-Dec-18 redo solar panel restraining line

22-Dec-18 tighten bilge pump belts

27-Dec-18 change alternator settings for hot weather – bv 14.8 bt 5, av 14.6, at 2, fv 13.5, ffl 30, bdl 5, btemp 43, alt temp 97
electrical
10-Jan-19 Alternator 2 temp sensor
electrical
10-Jan-19 Fuel Filter - Primary 500 engine
10-Jan-19 Fuel Filter - Secondary 500 engine
10-Jan-19 Oil (100 hrs) - 7.95L of oil 125 engine
10-Jan-19 drain outboard carb Monthly outboard
10-Jan-19 chafe on staysail halyard
Rigging
11-Jan-19 aft cabin port fan
electrical
12-Jan-19 propane switch light
electrical
12-Jan-19 Pressure water filter 4 mon plumbing
12-Jan-19 replace domestic pressure water pump
plumbing
12-Jan-19 corrosion control upper deck knives 3 mon Safety
14-Jan-19 clean diesel tanks – aft
Engine
14-Jan-19 clean diesel tanks – ctr
Engine
14-Jan-19 check linkage for extra rode for anchor rode
Rigging
15-Jan-19 stove sparker
electrical
15-Jan-19 repair rot in little cupboard aft cabin port
wood
15-Jan-19 Tippy cupboard – replace hinge
wood
17-Jan-19 renew autopilot computer wiring
Electronics
17-Jan-19 high TDS on watermaker – replace membrane
watermaker
18-Jan-19 chafe material – sensor wires to reefer
electrical
18-Jan-19 Honda outboard - replace carb
outboard
18-Jan-19 Honda outboard – replace choke valve
outboard
18-Jan-19 Reefer – replace water pump with Johnson type CM30-P7-1 Model 102448903 Hose 20mm Flow 22.5 l/m at 15 pka
reefer
18-Jan-19 shorten anchor roller retaining line
Rigging
23-Jan-19 Autopilot – corrosion control
autopilot
23-Jan-19 Autopilot – stuck solenoid ?
autopilot
23-Jan-19 redo rudder stops
Rigging
24-Jan-19 reseal rode hawser hole
Rigging
24-Jan-19 genoa cover repair ripped
Sewing
28-Jan-19 heater does not start – code 25, 37

28-Jan-19 replace dingy anchor chain

29-Jan-19 resecure lazerrete panel screws
carpentry
29-Jan-19 repair to chafe and missing seams on bimini
Rigging
31-Jan-19 inner forestay cotter pins
Rigging
02-Feb-19 repair 8m kite – new bladder
kite
04-Feb-19 inner forestay – add correct cotter pin
Rigging
07-Feb-19 4m kite – leaking spar
kite
07-Feb-19 8m kite – leaking struts x 2
kite
09-Feb-19 fresh water leak ? - fwd shower
plumbing
11-Feb-19 resheave vang dynmea line
Rigging
11-Feb-19 Stbd spin halyard chafe
Rigging
12-Feb-19 engine water strainer 60 days Engine
12-Feb-19 Engine zinc - replaced as fully used up 60 days Engine
12-Feb-19 Oil cooler zinc – replaced zinc as some loss 60 days Engine
12-Feb-19 clean reefer strainer and bowl 2 Mon reefer
12-Feb-19 Mainsail cover out of track
Sewing
14-Feb-19 replace bilge pump panel with 2min alarm
electrical
15-Feb-19 better bilge switch
electrical
17-Feb-19 Battery water and clean battery top - aft – checked only – not filled 60 days battery water
17-Feb-19 service spare outboard carburetor
outboard
17-Feb-19 latch for chart table lid
Safety
17-Feb-19 tears on staysail bag
Sewing
18-Feb-19 mainfurl - Grease the grease nipple on the aft end of the spar. 2 Mon Grease
18-Feb-19 Windlass - bimonthly 2 Mon Grease
18-Feb-19 Steering cable tightness - check quarterly 3 mon Lazerrete
18-Feb-19 reshim gooseneck
Rigging
18-Feb-19 patch dodger aluminum plus rain troughs

19-Feb-19 exhaust elbow – inspect – rusty exterior but not leaking 12 mon Engine
20-Feb-19 Fire detectors
heater
20-Feb-19 8m kite – blown bladder and cover
kite
21-Feb-19 repaint exhaust elbow
Engine
21-Feb-19 touch up engine paint esp transmission port side
Engine
21-Feb-19 Heater will not start – reset water pump
heater
21-Feb-19 chip in bow

23-Feb-19 Autopilot – flush hyd fluid
autopilot
23-Feb-19 Autopilot – stuck briefly with solenoid engaged
autopilot
23-Feb-19 autopilot brush and hyd fluid check 3 mon autopilot
23-Feb-19 test Espar heater exhaust and plumbing connections 3 mon heater
23-Feb-19 4m – replace leaking strut valve
kite
23-Feb-19 8m – strut loses pressure
kite
23-Feb-19 install smoke detector in lazerette
Safety
25-Feb-19 mount for big flashlight
Safety
26-Feb-19 port solar chart controller – shows battery full – replace PCB
electrical
26-Feb-19 Run Webasto Heater 2 Mon heater
26-Feb-19 Honda Outboard - check anodes 6 mon outboard
26-Feb-19 Honda Outboard - grease and corrosion control 6 mon outboard
26-Feb-19 Outboard – stuck in reverse – make new retaining nut
outboard
27-Feb-19 Full charge of house bank Monthly battery
27-Feb-19 hypervent matting under mattresses – aft cabin
Cold Wx
01-Mar-19 hypervent matting under mattresses – bunk cabin
Cold Wx
01-Mar-19 hypervent matting under mattresses – stbd saloon bench
Cold Wx
01-Mar-19 install fan – aft cabin stbd side
electrical
01-Mar-19 8m – replace centre strut nozzle
kite
02-Mar-19 investigate corrosion on fwd port stanchion

04-Mar-19 icebox drain filter 6 mon plumbing
06-Mar-19 fix hinges to fwd port cubby in saloon

08-Mar-19 hypervent matting – port saloon bench
cold Wx
09-Mar-19 Mount thermostats and switches for heaters – saloon
heater
09-Mar-19 drain outboard carb Monthly outboard
10-Mar-19 4m kite – centre strut valve leaking
kite
11-Mar-19 add valve to header tank hose
heater
11-Mar-19 fabricate better route for heater hose below lazerette
heater
11-Mar-19 heater will not start – Espar water pump jammed – removed impellor
heater
11-Mar-19 move and replace thermostat for Webasto heater
heater
12-Mar-19 Mount thermostat and switch for aft cabin
heater
14-Mar-19 Add 3/4” cooling pump to heater and move to aft head
heater
14-Mar-19 add bleeder above hot water tank
heater
16-Mar-19 service old autopilot solenoid
autopilot
16-Mar-19 Battery water and clean battery top - aft – 10 pumps for aft port, 10 stbd aft, 27 fwd batteries 60 days battery water
16-Mar-19 Check start battery 6 mon battery water
16-Mar-19 IS20 Wind at chart table
Electronics
16-Mar-19 tighten start alternator
Engine
16-Mar-19 check stove mount
Safety
16-Mar-19 WM Feedpump#1 not coming up to pressure
wM
20-Mar-19 Full charge of house bank Monthly battery
20-Mar-19 replace lagging on exhaust elbow
Engine
20-Mar-19 measure depth of heater fuel pick up – down to 4 gal therefore approx 45 gal usable from full
heater
20-Mar-19 clean watermaker pleated filter 2 Mon watermaker
20-Mar-19 clean watermaker sea strainer 2 Mon watermaker
25-Mar-19 new hooks for big lure
fishing
25-Mar-19 check outboard oil Monthly outboard
25-Mar-19 Honda outboard - check starter cord 6 mon outboard
25-Mar-19 Honda Outboard - Gear oil 6 mon outboard
25-Mar-19 Honda Outboard - spark plug 6 mon outboard
25-Mar-19 grease top bearing on rudder post 3 mon Rigging
25-Mar-19 New Spinlock PFD - Bobbin TX
Safety
25-Mar-19 chafe in bimini port mid and in front of the rain enclosure both sides
Sewing
26-Mar-19 temp repair fwd hatch bracket
deck
26-Mar-19 Max PFD Knife scabbard – fix
Safety
26-Mar-19 practice rig drogue
Safety
26-Mar-19 test sea anchor plan/check
Safety
27-Mar-19 Battery water and clean battery top- fwd – topped up water 90 days battery water
27-Mar-19 tear in infill – port side plus small holes in UV cover
Sewing
27-Mar-19 check windlass oil level 3 mon windlass
27-Mar-19 check windlass wiring 90 days windlass
29-Mar-19 Reefer – no circulation water
reefer
30-Mar-19 chafe guard for shade cover
Sewing
30-Mar-19 grommet pulling out and loose seam – sun cover
Sewing
01-Apr-19 toilet spring broken
plumbing
01-Apr-19 rebed around the perimeter hatches
rebed
02-Apr-19 rebed around small hatches coamings
rebed
03-Apr-19 replace fwd head window gasket
rebed
03-Apr-19 check and adjust wind gen blade gaps

05-Apr-19 rebed fwd head window
rebed
05-Apr-19 reregister EPRIB/PLB annual Safety
05-Apr-19 fuel consumption data point – fast idle with 150A charge

06-Apr-19 furlboom mast track
Rigging
06-Apr-19 rigging check up mast
Rigging
07-Apr-19 check engine hoses 12 month engine
07-Apr-19 Replace outboard key and corrosion control
outboard
07-Apr-19 replace traveller lines
Rigging
07-Apr-19 CO sensor
Safety
07-Apr-19 test EPIRB annual Safety
08-Apr-19 update/configure US/Canada chart chip
Electronics
09-Apr-19 Engine coolant change 13L 12 mon Engine
10-Apr-19 slight leak from hot water tank output
plumbing
10-Apr-19 increase freezer temp slightly
reefer
10-Apr-19 Watermaker carbon filter 6 mon WM
11-Apr-19 replace barrel bolt in clear companionway cover
deck
11-Apr-19 add thermostat to saloon fan unit
heater
11-Apr-19 engine to heater heat exchanger
heater
11-Apr-19 remount reefer circulation pump to avoid airlock on port tack
reefer
12-Apr-19 fill ding fwd of cockpit stbd

13-Apr-19 add conduit cover to wiring in lazarette
electrical
15-Apr-19 weather station
Electronics
15-Apr-19 engine water strainer 60 days Engine
15-Apr-19 Engine zinc 60 days Engine
15-Apr-19 Oil cooler zinc 60 days Engine
15-Apr-19 replace wiring for saloon aquastat
heater
15-Apr-19 drain outboard carb Monthly outboard
15-Apr-19 move bilge pump switch higher
plumbing
15-Apr-19 HF ant wire - renew - SSB GTO15 connection - battery lug to bulldog clamp. 12 mon Rigging
15-Apr-19 replace mainfurl line with warpspeed
Rigging
15-Apr-19 clean and test bilge float switch 3 mon Safety
15-Apr-19 corrosion control upper deck knives 3 mon Safety
15-Apr-19 test high water alarm 6 mon Safety
17-Apr-19 rebed chart table window
rebed
17-Apr-19 rebed saloon window above barometer
rebed
17-Apr-19 recaulk in front of infill
rebed
17-Apr-19 replace gasket for window over chart table
rebed
19-Apr-19 rebed fwd spin pole bracket
rebed
19-Apr-19 rebed mast collar
rebed
19-Apr-19 rebed spin pole mast block
rebed
19-Apr-19 rebed staysail halyard mast block
rebed
19-Apr-19 rebed v-berth under inner forestay padeye
rebed
22-Apr-19 replace wind generator face bearings
electrical
22-Apr-19 Wind gen – replace burnt wiring
electrical
23-Apr-19 move dodger solar panels to cabinet under chart table seat
electrical
23-Apr-19 Stbd solar charge controller blows fuses – replaced with old slightly defective one
electrical
23-Apr-19 Wind generator – replace charge controller
electrical
24-Apr-19 fix stove sparker
electrical
24-Apr-19 Stove main burner thermocouple
electrical
25-Apr-19 hull/Prop clean Monthly dive
25-Apr-19 replace liferaft tie down
Rigging
25-Apr-19 relash jacklines annual Safety
25-Apr-19 replace jacklines 5 years Safety
25-Apr-19 Overhaul winch - stbd 27 outboard 12 mon winch
27-Apr-19 toilet floods – replace spring
plumbing
28-Apr-19 Impeller replacement 250 engine
29-Apr-19 Rebed and replace hose clamps – aft port outboard scupper
rebed
29-Apr-19 rebed port mid cleat
rebed
29-Apr-19 rebed port padeye near scupper
rebed
29-Apr-19 rebed stanchion outboard port hanging locker
rebed
29-Apr-19 rebed stanchions outboard of port fwd compartment
rebed
02-May-19 replace start battery ?
electrical
02-May-19 rebed port stanchion gate
rebed
03-May-19 insulate saloon top storage
cold Wx
03-May-19 rebed port and stbd genoa track fwd
rebed
03-May-19 rebed toerail outboard of stbd saloon storage
rebed
05-May-19 update chart data – Navionics
Electronics
06-May-19 calibrate barometer
Electronics
06-May-19 Corrosion preventative for ignition key and engine kill knob 6 mon Engine
06-May-19 Insulate heat exchanger
heater
06-May-19 fix cockpit table supports

07-May-19 shackle pin – staysail tack

08-May-19 rebed mid stbd cleat
rebed
08-May-19 rebed stanchion between aft and cap shroud
rebed
08-May-19 rebed toerail outboard of fwd stbd cupboard
rebed
09-May-19 change Webasto fuel filter 12 mon heater
09-May-19 rebed/insulate chart table area
rebed
09-May-19 replace dingy tie down straps
Rigging
09-May-19 rebed genoa track outboard of chart table

09-May-19 rebed stanchion outboard of chart table

09-May-19 rebed toerail outboard of chart table

09-May-19 replace deck box straps

10-May-19 Insulate - Saloon
Cold Wx
10-May-19 replace aft jackline
Safety
12-May-19 aft cabin stanchions and toe rail port side outboard of aft cabin
rebed
12-May-19 rebed aft genoa track stbd
rebed
12-May-19 rebed chimney
rebed
12-May-19 rebed padeye port outboard of dock box
rebed
12-May-19 rebed port genoa foot block
rebed
12-May-19 rebed stanchion and pad eye outboard of stbd deck box
rebed
12-May-19 rebed stanchions stbd aft and toe rail
rebed
12-May-19 rebed stbd genoa foot block
rebed
13-May-19 Mount master controller and pump switch heater – aft cabin
heater
13-May-19 scupper hose clamps – aft cabin stbd hanging locker
plumbing
13-May-19 Insulate/rebed/resecure galley ceiling
rebed
13-May-19 plug wire conduits aft cabin stbd aft
rebed
13-May-19 rebed staysail sheet blocks
rebed
14-May-19 Insulate – aft cabin
cold Wx
14-May-19 insulate heater hose under stbd bench aft cabin and insulate
heater
14-May-19 reconfigure aft cabin air vent – allow full flow
heater
14-May-19 confirm emergency numbers in Satphone - https://sarcontacts.info/ 12 mon Safety
14-May-19 portable watermaker – annual maintenance 12 mon Safety
14-May-19 Replace batteries in electric flare 12 mon Safety
14-May-19 test satphone 12 mon Safety
15-May-19 Fire extinguisher – inspect and service as required 12 mon Safety
15-May-19 temp repair galley fire extinguisher mount
Safety
15-May-19 change solar panel settings for going north

16-May-19 rebed bunk cabin – centre
rebed
16-May-19 rebed handrails – fwd both sides
rebed
16-May-19 rebed life raft cradle
rebed
17-May-19 Insulate – aft head esp behind hot water tank
cold Wx
17-May-19 Insulate – bunk cabin
cold Wx
17-May-19 insulate fwd passageway deckhead
cold Wx
17-May-19 test Espar – white smoke at start
heater
17-May-19 test Espar heater exhaust and plumbing connections 3 mon heater
17-May-19 Pressure water filter 4 mon plumbing
17-May-19 replace rubber pads for liferaft mount
Safety
18-May-19 replace chainplate covers and insulate
cold Wx
18-May-19 alternator x 3 and starter - check wiring 125 engine
18-May-19 check alternator belt tension 125 engine
18-May-19 check engine mount nuts 500 engine
18-May-19 engine air filter check 125 engine
18-May-19 engine water strainer 60 days Engine
18-May-19 reroute engine heater hose to heater heat exchanger
Engine
18-May-19 mainfurl - Grease the grease nipple on the aft end of the spar. 2 Mon Grease
18-May-19 Windlass - bimonthly 2 Mon Grease
18-May-19 Windlass Service - preseason service - every 6 mon 6 mon Grease
18-May-19 BC charts – Coastal Explorer
IT
18-May-19 Inspect lifelines 12 month rigging
18-May-19 chafe protection wm membrane to reefer mount

19-May-19 Cabin sole – locks for main bilge panel
carpenter
19-May-19 Oil (100 hrs) - 7.95L of oil 125 engine
19-May-19 Oil Filter Change 250 engine
19-May-19 fix forward head – new floor bolts, new small bronze bolts for intake and replace valves
plumbing
19-May-19 replace floor pull – fwd passageway

20-May-19 diesel leak – secondary fuel filter
Engine
20-May-19 diesel leak at aft injector
Engine
20-May-19 check mainsail tack and clew lines 12 mon sail
21-May-19 plug for heater exhaust ?
heater
21-May-19 caulk top of all scupper tops
rebed
21-May-19 fwd head – rebed stanchion and pad eye
rebed
21-May-19 rebed electrical fittings under stbd dodger
rebed
21-May-19 rebed fuel and water deck fills into galley
rebed
21-May-19 rebed toerail behind galley drawers x 6 + pad eye
rebed
21-May-19 Genoa inspection 12 mon sail
21-May-19 mainsail inspection 12 mon sail
21-May-19 redo genoa leach repair
sail
21-May-19 leather patch – aft stbd side of bimini
Sewing
21-May-19 replace dripless shaft hose clamps

22-May-19 insulate galley
cold Wx
22-May-19 insulation under heater hoses and behind toilet in aft head
cold Wx
22-May-19 top up oil
Engine
22-May-19 chafe protection – heater hoses by injector pump
heater
22-May-19 staysail inspection 12 mon sail
22-May-19 staysail UV cover loose at one seam and two chafe marks on the luff
sail
23-May-19 Autopilot - check bolt torque 3 mon autopilot
23-May-19 autopilot brush and hyd fluid check 3 mon autopilot
23-May-19 repair stbd dock box
carpentry
23-May-19 add hose insulation – lazerette
heater
23-May-19 Webasto – repair air duct – lazerette
heater
23-May-19 Webasto – repair air intake
heater
23-May-19 check and lubricate steering cable 6 mon Lazerrete
23-May-19 inspect shaft seal and rudder boot hose clamps 6 mon lazerrete
23-May-19 replace or reinforce floor board in lazerrette for autopilot pump – add starboard bar
lazerrete
23-May-19 Steering cable tightness - check quarterly 3 mon Lazerrete
23-May-19 Mainsail – chafe near luff and 5xbatten pockets
sail
23-May-19 Mainsail – damage to leach in one spot and chafe areas
sail
24-May-19 Honda Generator – eco throttle not disengaging
Generator
24-May-19 add fillet to bottom of a/p pump floor
lazerrete
24-May-19 Grease autopilot rod end bearing 6 mon lazerrete
24-May-19 check outboard oil Monthly outboard
24-May-19 drain outboard carb Monthly outboard
24-May-19 JB weld – temp repair to shaft seal

25-May-19 repair aft head floor
carpentry
25-May-19 filter coolant and add filter to header tank
heater
25-May-19 flush heater header tank
heater
25-May-19 Run Webasto Heater 2 Mon heater
25-May-19 renotch mainsail track pins at bottom
Rigging
25-May-19 aft head garbage tie down

25-May-19 webasto fuel filter 12 mon
26-May-19 Honda Outboard - Oil Change 6 mon outboard
26-May-19 grease top bearing on rudder post 3 mon Rigging
26-May-19 temp repair to port handrail
Safety
26-May-19 bimini - water proofing 6 mon
28-May-19 tie down point on inboard side of deck boxes
deck
28-May-19 install wind gen stop switch
electrical
28-May-19 wind gen not braking and spinning freely – replaced controller with bridge rectifier
electrical
28-May-19 replace thermal paste for aft cabin and saloon aquastat
heater
28-May-19 extra sealant around perimeter of windows
rebed
28-May-19 rebed stbd quarter stanchion
rebed
28-May-19 Gluvit aft cabin port fwd cupboard

29-May-19 Battery water and clean battery top - aft - 60 days 60 days battery water
30-May-19 temp repair to deck seams
deck
30-May-19 program Honolulu Sailmail stations
Electronics
30-May-19 Test SSB/Pactor/Sailmail
Electronics
30-May-19 Check drivers for GPS, network, AIS
IT
30-May-19 Outboard SE valve stuck
outboard
30-May-19 redo deck bungs
rebed
30-May-19 tape up dodger panels and running rigging holes
rebed
31-May-19 Dynmea pad eyes for anchor storage in v berth

02-Jun-19 battery equalization and top up water 6 mon electrical
02-Jun-19 Review Ditch Bag contents 12 mon Safety


Happy that this maintenance period is done ...