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Captain's Blog

posted Oct 5, 2011, 3:11 PM by April Fountain

0500 5 October

A few hours ago we ran out of the NE trades and into light airs.  For the last 48 hours we have been in squally conditions of the ITCZ but the breeze has held ENE 15-20.  We took in the mainsail last night with a tear near the leach running across 2 panels.  In the daylight today we will start to repair it.  Jib and staysail came down this morning in the light conditions.  From here to Christmas we can expect SE winds to return.  We have managed to make easting past 156 degrees West, about 100 miles east of Christmas Island.  So we should be able to fetch it. 

Our new GM 12-71 main engine has been running fine staying cool between 1200 and 1700 RPM, and we have covered 900 miles since Honolulu, averaging a respectable 5.7 knots, mostly with easy running engine.  The most excitement has been the heavy amount of water on the deck.  Kwai is loaded to her Plimsoll Line.  This is the line etched on the hull showing her maximum allowed loading and is 20 cm (8") below the deck line halfway along the length of the ship.  Previously we have sailed from Honolulu full by volume but not b weight.  This voyage with a high percentage of denser cargo (rice, sugar, cement) and over 500m3 loaded for the first time is the first time to sail out of Honolulu right down to her marks.  This has lead to plenty of water, mostly white foam of breaking waves, and occasionally blue water when she rolls down.  The seawater rolls across the deck in the waist and sheds off the ship through the scuppers and freeing ports.  Most of the voyage we have had the clang clang of the freeing ports opening and closing. Even the poop deck has been swept by waves coming aboard.  Standing at the weather rail aft or sitting on the new bench on the port side, you can get soaked to your waist.  We haven't yet had to close the Engine Room or Galley doors, and only one wave has come through the open skylight. 

The fo'c'sle more stuffed than ever with cargo has offered a few challenges.  The deck has shown a few leaks.  The open foredeck gets more sun and without enough daily watering the planks shrink a bit.  It has been pretty constantly wet this trip and is now finally swelling up.  On the work list this trip is to re-caulk the forward part of the ship as well as chasing down a leak over Gabe's head. We have 4 freezers in the fo'c'sle this trip, 2 for cargo and 2 for ship's stores.  The compressor on one of the cargo units started making ominous clanking noises on the big rolls.  In addition one end has been squashed by the solar panels stacked on top.  We have been nursing it along, shutting down when it gets rough and restowing the panels.  This was a challenge in the tight quarters. 

Otherwise been a pretty boring trip, just as we like them.  No fish to speak of only flying fish and one devil fish caught at night and tangling up the 2 trolling lines.  ETA Christmas Island is Saturday, Kiribati time, Friday Hawaii time, and discharign should start on Monday.  

Aloha, Brad