Saturday, 12 May 2018

Heading home ...

May was the month we had selected in which winter would have loosed its grip on the North Pacific sufficiently for us to make a safe and (relatively) comfortable passage back to British Columbia. The intervening time in Honolulu following our March arrival from Chile was mostly spent on boat maintenance tasks. (I hear other cruisers whisper "This all sounds familiar!").

Before maintenance could even start, bureaucracy had to be addressed: Bureaucratic tasks ran the gamut from customs (clear into the US and obtain permit to cruise in US waters), agriculture (arrange an official galley inspection and the secure disposal of "international trash") through positively silly (the marina required that the recently arrived from far away boat be taken one mile out of the harbor and back to show that it could be sailed).

The maintenance tasks that followed ranged from the essential (get the alternator working) through simple (lighting repairs) to cosmetic (varnishing) and many others. One job, thought simple, turned out to demand much more time than expected. I took our mainsail to a sailmaker to have some small tears repaired. Another tear suddenly and strangely appeared as I removed the sail from the boom. The full bad news came at the sail loft when it turned out I could tear the normally tough sailcloth easily with my hands. It was un-repairable and unusable and a new mainsail would take a month to make! At that point, it seemed it would just fit into our schedule without producing a delay - and, in fact, the sail was delivered and installed exactly one day before our planned departure.

Mary Anne thought the (rather typical) complete list of repairs I accomplished would be interesting so I have included it at the end of this posting.

On the 8th of May, we set out for Ko Olina, a marina at the south west tip of Oahu to fill our fuel tanks. We would then go on to Makua anchorage, just under the north west tip of the island, for two nights in the "wilderness" to relax before the real departure on the 10th. Somewhere during this six hour trip, our enjoyment of the view of the scenic Oahu coast was shattered by the very loud bilge water alarm. A hurried check revealed that we were not in imminent danger of sinking. A more detailed check showed the culprit was a leaking seal in the generator seawater pump. - so much for my imagined day of relaxation at Makua! Closing a valve stopped the immediate leak but 3 hours of work was extracted out of our leisure day to install a spare pump. The removed leaky pump will get new seals and bearings when we get to Canada and take over the role of spare.

* * *

The stiff northeast trade winds blowing almost continually in Hawaii prevent a direct route to British Columbia lying almost exactly northeast of Hawaii. The sailboat solution to this is to head north, as close to the wind as possible, until a latitude of 30 to 35 is reached. At this point, the wind shifts to a more favorable direction and a more direct course can be shaped. The first five days of the passage are always into the wind and waves with an attendant discomfort felt all the more strongly because everyone aboard has yet to attain their "sea legs".

We are now a day and a half into this minor ordeal, nonetheless making good progress north. The water temperature has dropped 4 degrees C since our departure and temperatures in the cabin are starting to become bearable as the tropical heat fades. Forecasts show we will be able to start to ease our course towards the northeast in about two more days as the wind clocks around to the east and then southeast.

Our last passage, Valdivia, Chile to Honolulu, Hawaii was over 6000 nautical miles. We can take comfort in the knowledge that Cape Flattery at the western end of the Strait of Juan de Fuca lies only 2000 nautical miles ahead "as the crow flies". And the dolphins visited today!

* * *

replace port aft engine foot due fracture 20-Mar-18
replace rigging screw and reattach inner forestay 21-Mar-18
change primary fuel filter check fuel pump strainer (was clean)22-Mar-18
test gas detectors with butane wand - both OK 22-Mar-18
check and adjust shaft alignment and coupling bolts 23-Mar-18
replace used spare genset drive belt 23-Mar-18
dusted inside of inverter re overheating problem 23-Mar-18
repair spare rigging screw from inner forestay 23-Mar-18
replaced worn mainsail clew shackle 24-Mar-18
failed step light (boarding light) replaced 24-Mar-18
wire outhaul on mainsail replaced (wire and thimbles broken) 26-Mar-18
replace failed watermaker rinse valve 26-Mar-18
stove sparker failed on various burners … repaired 27-Mar-18
ball bearing stove gimbals replace pins (always worn offshore) 27-Mar-18
lower rigging inspection complete including under furler 28-Mar-18
replaced clevis and cotter pins at bottom of forestay 29-Mar-18
compass bubble removed with new fluid - rim of bellows smoothed 29-Mar-18
replace depleted prop and shaft zincs & grease propeller 30-Mar-18
dinghy keel tube leak patched 4-Apr-18
dinghy strake re-glued 5-Apr-18
boom support repaired with Forespar parts 6-Apr-18
replace jury rigged negative terminal on anchor windlass 7-Apr-18
new display screen and cabling for helm position installed 15-Apr-18
varnish port half bulkhead cap, nav station cap completed 16-Apr-18
new mounting for alternator machined 16-Apr-18
warranty repaired alternator installed and tested 17-Apr-18
clean & waterproof tape on wind sensor connection top of mast 26-Apr-18
inspection aloft 26-Apr-18
clean boat bottom again 29-Apr-18
repair wood rot at dinghy transom drain valve 6-May-18
sun damaged mainsail replaced 7-May-18
replace leaking genset water pump 9-May-18

At 2018-05-12 18:19 (utc) our position was 25°49.82'N 158°08.04'W

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