PANAMA TRAFFIC ZONE, CAPTAIN’S JURY RIG, CLEANLINESS, WATERBLOMMJIES

Current Time: 1:40 AM

Current Position: North 20 degrees, 25 minutes West 55 degrees, 37 minutes

Hi, Everyone.

Moonlit night, very bright. Horizon zinging along, mostly 8 knots. Just scanned the horizon again for traffic. We are actually in a high-traffic area, because of the Panama Canal – ships coming to and from Europe, for example. We’re surprised that we haven’t seen more. In fact, we haven’t seen any lately.

Philip says that he’s seen chains of ships going cross his bow on the horizon as they were on deliveries going north, and has had to pick his way between them. We haven’t seen that yet, but we’re on the lookout.

Philip has been getting his jib jury rig (repair) ready for tomorrow morning. Usually the wind is a bit lighter when the sun comes up, which actually happens around 9AM. He has to replace the three lost set screws with three pins he has created by hacksawing some bolts he had on board. His workshop has a vice, which he has gotten quite a bit of usage out of, and during his watch tonight he hacksawed the bolts to the right length.

Yesterday morning he did his measuring while the jib was flailing around in the still-strong winds (we had to take the pressure off of it, in order for the measurement to be taken). To slow the boat down, and get the sail so it was at the right angle to the wind, he set the course for 65 degrees on the compass, and used the one engine in the starboard hull to keep the boat going about 2 knots – just enough to maintain steerage through the waves. You still go up and down in the swell, but the spray is minimized.

This is what he sent to Matthew yesterday:

“I had another session with the Profurl [the jib roller furler] at sunrise this morning, investigating and trying things. Easing the halyard* tension allowed the set screw holes to come into alignment, as you suggested. I successfully inserted a dummy pin and got a hose clamp around it. Getting a screwdriver into the slot on the hose clamp, while things were jumping around that much, was a trick. Tonight I plan to make three pins of the correct length, and gather all my tools and materials and tapes and things, and then tomorrow morning, sunrise, we will attempt to install the jury rig. The sea is a little smoother and the wind a little lighter at sunrise.”

—————-

(*The halyard is the line that pulls up the front edge of the sail.)

I’m sure the captain could describe this more accurately, but he’s sleeping, so I’ll do my best. The three pins will go into both the inner and outer roller furler extrusions. There is an inner extrusion – a tube – all along the luff [front edge] of the sail, and a base extrusion, another tube, that is about two feet high, at the base of the jib. These two tubes must move in unison while rolling up the jib. The jib will thus roll up properly, without the wrinkles we’ve been seeing since the three set screws came out.

I’m proud of my jury-rigging captain. Wish us luck.

Today I got the boat a bit cleaner. It felt good. Before we left Cape Town, Philip had gotten a “spritzer,” an attachment that screws onto a plain old plastic soda bottle, and behaves like a small pump-up, pressurized garden sprayer. When we get home, we’ll get a proper garden sprayer for the boat, but this one really did the trick today for getting salt off the solar panels, windows, hatches, winches, etc. It was convenient because it was so small, and easy to move around from place to place on the boat as we were going through the waves. I was able to put it into a vinyl bucket we have, along with a squeegee, a roll of paper towels, and a terry cloth hand mitt, which works well for gently wiping off a surface after you’ve soaked it with fresh water. I spent a greater part of the afternoon getting the salt and the Sahara Dust off a number of surfaces.

On the food front, one thing I was unable to find enough of, before we left, was green veggies in cans. One can came on board as an experiment, and now I wish I’d gotten more. It’s a Cape Town specialty – says so right on the can – đŸ™‚ – something called Waterblommetjies. Don’t ask me how to pronounce it. The picture showed a colorful plant, but inside the can it was green – the color and consistency of cooked asparagus, but with leaves about half the size and about the same thickness as artichoke petals. I taste-tested it out of the can, and knew I’d have to do some work to make it acceptable to my veggie-adverse captain. Sort of a deep asparagus taste.

I ended up taking a Cape Town sweet potato – which is red on the outside, as usual, but yellow inside – dicing it into squares about 1/2 inch each, cooking them until soft in some veggie oil with Ina Paarman’s Potato Spice (gives it a buttery flavor, with a little kick) and some garlic paste. I added water to keep them from sticking and to soften them. Then, when soft enough, I added the Waterblommetjies to the top layer, and cooked it a bit longer. A generous dribbling of white sauce* when plated, and onto the table. He liked it. Like I said, wish I’d gotten more.

*WHITE SAUCE
mentioned before, but it’s been a while:

Mix in a large bowl:

1 jar light mayo (I usually use Kraft)
1 tablespoon (approx.) Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup raw sugar
2 tablespoons Ina Paarman’s Potato Spice (or McCormick Vegetable Supreme)
2 tablespoons Ina Paarman’s Italian Cheese Sprinkle (or McCormick Salad Supreme)
2 tablespoons (approx.) olive oil

Wisk until blended, then add water for desired consistency. Use on eggs, salads, meats, whatever.

That’s it for now. We are about 900 miles from Bermuda, and about 1500 miles from Beavertail Lighthouse in Jamestown. Getting there!

Much love,
Philip and Kristin

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