Tuesday November 28th, 2000

Location

Approx 1500 sailing miles to Cape Horn

Latitude

49.12S

Longitude

108.20W

Course

055 deg True

Wind

Westerly 20 to 25 knots

Sea

Moderate and choppy with breaking crests

Air temp

8 deg C

Sea temp

5 deg C

Barometer

1004 mbs


0800 hours. I woke to the smell of bacon and eggs frying in the pan, and classical music in the saloon. Michael, the “guest chef” for the day, gave me my first cup of tea within seconds of my appearing sleepily out of my cabin heading for the pilot-house to check on our course and conditions this morning. It’s raining lightly but the horizon astern is a clear, uninterrupted eggshell blue, so we are hoping for a sunny day.

Seamaster really got going during the night with winds of 35 knots from behind and continuous drizzle, with the tops of the waves breaking heavily down each side of our aluminium hull, but we have now slowed a little in a rolling sea covered in white horses. The drizzle drove into the pilot house through the open water-tight door, and it was the first time that my feet felt the need of the thick woollen socks and leather sea boots that I wear on deck. It was so light with the coming dawn at 0300 when Trevor and I came off watch, that we will again move clocks today. So, 2pm becomes 3pm as we progress ever eastwards. Our destination is nearly on the chart within 2 days we will turn it over and there on the second half of the sheet will be South America, only a further week or so away (depending on the winds, of course).

Sean, our chief engineer, spent much of yesterday running and servicing the emergency generator and fire pump in the forepeak. These 2 engines provide electrical power to the ship if the rest have failed or pump the bilges or provide high-pressure seawater to fire-hose outlets throughout the vessel. The fire fighting system also has hose outlets on deck. Today he is going to continue with oil and filter changes and then top up their individual diesel tanks with fresh diesel. The old filters are stored for shore-side disposal, while the waste oil and old diesel goes into the large tank built into the hull in the generator room for such a purpose. Sean and Tracey spent much of yesterday also servicing one of our main generators which entailed donning overalls and squeezing into a tiny room filled with the machine with barely space to work around it. There is always something to do in the engineering department, be it greasing of the steering system joints, clearing of the air-block in the sea water pump to the toilets, or transferring diesel fuel to the 7000 litre day tank from one of the 5 large storage tanks. This fuel goes through an Alpha-Laval separator which basically spins the fuel at high speed and removes all water, contaminants (dirt) and any sign of the diesel bug. It delivers highly “polished” fuel to the day tank that all of the engines draw from – through their own individual filters. The wastes are stored in a separate tank between the main engines.