Friday, November 12, 2010

Madeira to La Palma Day 2: Becalmed

We left Marina Quinta do Lorde yesterday morning a little before 11 o'clock on our 250 nautical mile passage to La Palma in the Canary Islands where we will be meeting up with our friend Jim on Orinoco. The wind had more southerly in it than predicted (easterly was the forecast), but it wasn't bad, and we could motor-sail our rum line. In fact, at about 2 o'clock, I shut the motor down and we kept sailing at over 5 knots. Yippee!

John took the opportunity of the motor being off to have another look at the engine compartment--and discovered diesel in the bilge. Drat! We have a leak. After testing (engine on/engine off), he determined that the leak was in the fuel return, which has happened before (we had it fixed in Olympia, WA, and Cherbourg, France), but he can't fix it himself. The engine runs fine, but we can't tell how much fuel we're losing, and we need the engine to dock, so we'll be getting to La Palma on sail-power alone.

Except that the wind died at 7 o'clock this morning. We've been bobbing around since then, drifting a bit in the right direction. Our chartplotter says that it will take us about 2,000 hours to get to our next waypoint at the rate we're going. Not to worry. We have plenty of food and water, and the wind will come back sooner or later. The latest forecast calls for 20-knot favorable winds in a day and a half. Before then we hope to get a little something. All we need is something over 5 knots to move this heavy boat.

Meanwhile, we've alerted Jim that we'll be late, and this is really no big deal. We've been becalmed before. It's good practice for our patience.

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