Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Actually, It Was a Good Passage

We pulled into Wallis before noon today. Though not without a bit of drama at the end ("the sting is in the tail", we used to say in my climbing days) it was a fine passage.

Most notably, Eric didn't get seasick, in spite of some fairly booming winds and three meter wind waves. And I, for my part, came through without a migraine.

There was the small tuna that we caught on the first day out ("thank you, fish"); just the right size, and at the right time, for dinner. Something primally big took our lure an hour later, but was gone after a few jumps to show us just how big tropical pelagic fish can be.

The boys got along fine, and I re-read them most of the first Narnia book. Elias commented on what a great time we were all having.

The wind vane gave up on the second day out, apparently unable to handle the loads imposed by our 18 tons on a booming beam reach, so we switched over to the autopilot. The massive wahoo that we caught that evening ended up, after it was dead, being a massive barracuda, a much less palatable choice for ciguatera-phobics like us.

Then, this morning, with Wallis in sight, the usually stalwart autopilot stopped playing nice. Alisa hand steered while I consulted various computers to figure out the state of tide and our chances for still waters going through the pass. Then, with that sorted out, I fired up the engine.

Except that it didn't fire up, really. It just sputtered at lowest RPMs, and would produce nothing more when the throttle level was moved.

A quick inspection showed that the bracket holding throttle cable to engine had come adrift. Accidental engineer that I am, I had put the recent appearance of odd behavior in the throttle on the mental "fix it in New Zealand" list, instead of inspecting it immediately. So as penance I got to do the job on the fly after we tacked away from the entrance to the pass - pool of sweat collecting around me on the engine room sole, dropping my wrench under the engine in my haste, wondering if I was using the right set of holes on the bracket.

Then, the long troughs and white crests of the trade wind swell coming ashore, and ourselves through the pass at full RPMs.

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