Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Marquisas Passage Day 4

Noon-to-noon run 191 miles. Just so our reader doesn't get bored we had some drama yesterday afternoon. Actually two dramas. The first was having a target show up on our AIS (Automatic Identification System for ships)display. This was a Class A AIS (i.e. big ship type) that was 18 miles or so away. The full info on the target never filled in, so we don't know where it was heading or its name. It was the first ship we've seen in 7 days. So there is at least one other boat out here, which was actually comforting due to our next little drama. Chris said she heard a knock in the steering. We had chased a knocking down on our passage from Virginia to the Virgin Islands. In that case it turned out to be the chain for the stern anchor clanking on the side of the aft locker. So I didn't expect any real issues, but climbed back through the man-cave and shown the flashlight on the steering and rudder post. I was a little surprised to see that the main bolt that pins the the rudder arm to the rudder post had worked itself loose. Not a little loose. The nut had come off and the bolt had backed its way out all the way through the rudder post and was just hanging on by a few threads to the other side rudder arm fitting -- none of it was supporting the rudder post. This bolt not only holds the rudder arm from slipping around the rudder post, but it also stops the rudder from falling out of the boat. Something that would ruin your day 1,000 miles from shore.
We furled the headsail and turned the boat up into the wind (heaved-to). The boat settled down nicely in the 18kt winds and 4ft seas. It took about an hour and 45 minutes using a big socket drive to get the bolt back into position and tightened down again. This time I used Locktite on the bolt. We'll inspect it a couple times a day now.


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