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Ocean Planet Vendée Globe Update:
Saturday, November 20, 2004
Position 01 22S, 27 12W, @ 16:20 UT

Day 14 of the Vendée Globe…

Today we crossed the equator into the southern hemisphere. There will still be a lot of sailing before we cross back, that’s for sure.

OP and I are doing our best to hang on to the back of the “B” fleet, but it’s going to be tough as this is our worst point of sail relative to the other boats, jib close reaching. Conrad and Nick, just over 100 miles SW of us are going to average 1-2 kts faster until we can get the wind aft of beam as we get south.

It’s not that windy, at about 20kts, but definitely sloppy as we bang over the waves.

I spent another hour on the end of the boom today as I needed to re-splice and shorten the second reef line so that the covered part of the line is in the jammer at the front of the boom when reefed. Yesterday was the first time I put in the second reef since my re-rigging project, and I was bummed to find out that I needed to shorten it! So, today I put in the third reef, since I needed to take look at that also, and then I climbed out to finish the second.

So, the second should be fine now (I’ll re-hoist from third reef soon), but it turns out that the new strop I made for the third reef needs to move aft a few inches in order to get the foot tension right. Very fussy stuff! So, I need another light air day before the “Big” south so I can have the main all the way up which is the only way to get at the third reef strop.

I also spent some time adjusting the tension on our deck tie rods around the mast, which were creaking. There are bolts that go through the deck and are threaded into the top of the tie rods that go down to the mast base. Part of the problem turns out that the unthreaded part of the bolts (the part that goes through the deck) was too long so that the locking nut under the deck was running out of thread before tightening the bolt to the deck. In the rush to get things done we used a bunch of washers under the deck to get the nut far enough down the bolt to allow it to tighten up onto the deck. Are you with me here? Anyway, the washers (and the deck some too) have compressed enough so that the nuts can’t tighten quite enough and the deck squeaks as it moves microscopically up and down.

Since I can’t take it all apart, I tightened the bolts into the tie rods a little bit in order to squeeze the deck downwards a bit and reduce the tiny amount of movement. So far it seems to be working…..

Ok, enough for now! I need to muster my wits and write a journal entry for our education website, and I am finding it harder to write now that we are banging around.

Here’s a pic of a really great small T-storm yesterday, as we were leaving the dreaded doldrums. Note the rainbow in the upper left of the cloud:

Later, B


Bruce Schwab, Skipper
USA 05/Ocean Planet


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