Around The World Voyage : Commentary : Leg 4

May 19, 2002

We have a lot of problems out here with time zones, dates and days of the week (and I am not kidding). To make it more confusing, we are getting e-mails from people and boats from all over the world. Dave Harlow told me that he was still mixed up 3 days after crossing the international date line and had to call a passing ship to ask what day it was (I think he was kidding- you were Dave; right?).

As reported last night, we are on a course for the San Blas Islands. We are hoping to make it by nightfall on Tuesday night. I don’t want to try to enter that cobweb of reefs and channels in the dark- even with all of the fancy stuff we have to navigate with. At present speeds, we are barely going to make it before dark. The current has abandoned us (hopefully temporarily) so we have moved up to 1800 RPM to keep the average at 7 knots or above. At the moment, our average since 1:00AM this morning is 6.9 knots although part of the reason for that is that we shut down for about 20 minutes to check oil on the main (and add 3 quarts). To do that, we turned the boat around, started the wing engine and held the boat facing into the seas to keep the motion to a minimum.

The main drama today was the failure of our main computer. I have been leery of that computer since getting on the boat in Barbados. Jeff L warned me when doing the hand over. The poor thing has had a rough life since leaving Dana Point last November. Many people have been using it and it is full of unused programs, photos, games- you name it. It needs a good cleaning and defragging, but I think it is best to nurse it along rather than mess with it. Several times, it has locked up, but this morning, it simply turned off and no amount of manipulating the on/off switch would bring it back to life for more than a few seconds. We have a spare computer on board, but with a sick feeling, I realized that some of the essential settings to use the Iridium phone for e –mail were locked in the now dead computer. A call to Dana Point probably would have gotten us going again, but it is Sunday and besides, I hate to make calls like that. After about two hours of wallowing in despair and frustration, Jeff M came up to the PH. Jeff is the least mechanical of the crew and when he joined PAE some years ago, I had to show him where to turn on his computer. He asked (of course) “have you read the manual.” Yeeesss Jeff, I have. At that point, Jeff began to remove the battery in a somewhat ham handed manner. Peevishly, I said that I had already tried that and that there was no magic reset button or paperclip hole to be found. He then suggested that we try to plug in the power with the battery removed. Just to humor him and thinking that the computer was junk anyway, I said, yea, OK, try it. Voila!! It powered up!!! We then gingerly found our way to the settings and duplicated them in the spare. We have since put the battery back in and returned the old computer to regular service. It is working fine. Jeff M is the king for a day and I will stand his watch for him tonight. I still have no idea what happened.

Thought for the day. Here we are on a gorgeous boat without a single problem cruising along on schedule with every possible convenience. The failure of a non-essential computer (we didn’t even have computers on boats 10 years ago) got us all upset. There is a story in there somewhere…..

 

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