For anyone who’s followed this journey for even a little while, they’ve probably already heard many references to our engine failure. I wanted to write about it in some detail, but it’s a long story so I’ve broken it into parts. This post is more about the details of our main engine problems, and so is a bit more technical, but hopefully not as tedious to read as it has been to experience it…
The story starts before we knew the engine was going to die. There was a period of relative calm in the Southern Ocean between New Zealand and Rapa, when we were running the engine to charge the batteries and make slightly better progress. We noticed the exhaust had some black smoke; since the wind was slight and from behind us, the smell wafted over the boat, too. I thought the turbo might be dying, since it has been sitting, rusting externally, for a few years. But the turbo turned out not to be the biggest problem.
Continue reading “Engine trouble: the background”
Everyone talks about the wind here in Rapa. There are few places one can go to get away from it. Today a few of us went on a walk into a valley facing west, looking out onto the “Pacific” (anything but pacified around Rapa) towards New Zealand – a world of experiences away now, even though we departed less than 2 months ago. Walking in a stream in this valley, I suddenly became aware that the sound of the wind was not with us. That ever constant, gale-force roaring had dissipated and I could hear only the gurgling of water pouring down its rocky bed.
Continue reading “Above all else, it’s the Wind…”
The engines (both main yacht and dinghy’s outboard) have had more trauma than any engine should have in a lifetime. Fortunately, the outboard engine has proven very resilient: the latest survival challenge was to be dumped upside down in the water when the crazy winds here flipped the dinghy over in the middle of the night. We went out only a few minutes later (hard to tell something happened, except the bumping noise of the dinghy against the main hull was slightly different), but we lost everything that wasn’t attached (3 oars, a bailing bucket & sponge). The fuel container was floating a few meters behind the boat, still attached to the engine, which was secured to the dinghy, which was secured by a line and a cable to the main boat. No problem, just flip the dinghy upright in 80+ km/h winds and ~1 meter “seas” — in the anchorage! Absurd. Very few days here have not had high winds and choppy waters. This is not a normal South Sea anchorage. Even now it’s howling outside, but the winds have settled down to about 50km/h; gusting as I write this to 65! The Rapans have a legend about not cursing the wind…
Continue reading “Trauma in the Night – Rapa style”