Since yesterday, I am now able to communicate with the weather net in
South Africa. We are still some 3300 miles away and the communication is
not all that good, but I was able to send my position, ETA and local
weather conditions and Graham at the other end acknowledged my message.
I suppose that it is going to get better everyday and that is excellent
news to me as I will need their help once I leave Reunion for Durban.
Today, the weather has improved, actually it started to improve
yesterday afternoon and as soon as the wind dropped below 35 knots we
increased the genoa to accelerate and try and get away from that weather
system as quickly as we can.
In the meantime, the war against the leaks continue. We wrapped the mast
in a long plastic sock, but it is very difficult to get it to adhere to
the ceiling. However, we have reduced dramatically the amount of water
coming from there.
For the forward hatch, nothing we can do while at sea. It does not look
like any water coming through the crack in the lens, nor through the
gasket, but rather seeping in between the frame and the deck. If that is
the case, then it should be fairly easy to properly rebed it, as I have
done successfully for the other three hatches.
Then we have leaks through the opening portholes. There are six of them
in the main cabin and at least three of them leak, one very badly, the
one behind the chart table, opposite the engine compartment. We had
tried to change the gasket, eliminate all salt, put vaseline on the
gasket, etc.... but there is a small lump of what appears to be a
compound like Araldite and we could not take it off. Once in Rodriguez,
we will try and block it from the outside and then replace the whole
unit in South Africa.
Actually, I think I will replace all the portholes in the main cabin
with fixed ones. I never open them anyway and I would feel more at ease
with fixed ones.
And then, there are the leaks coming through the deck at various
locations. With the liner covering the whole ceiling inside the boat, it
is almost impossible to examine where exactly the water is seeping
through. Right now, I suspect the two cleats amidship as well as the
stanchion bases on both gates, port and starboard. Trying to feel the
deck from down below, I can find any screw or bolt going through the
deck and I do not know how those cleats were installed. I will probably
wait for Capetown when I haul out in a boatyard.
The weather fortunately has improved enough so that there is now very
little sea getting on deck, only the occasional big wave, and the rest
of the trip might prove to be dryer.