Sam Davies’ mast climb while becalmed
by Sam Davies on 16 May 2008
Sam Davies sailing Roxy in the Artemis Transat sends this email of her mast climb to check the radar and sort out a few other 'gremlins' . . .
Artemis Transat 2008 - Roxy becalmed - photo Sam Davies © .
I had to do a little climb up my mast to the radar yesterday. I used my voltmeter to check the cable at the bottom of the mast for short-circuit and that confirmed I had a problem with the antenna. So I climbed up to the radar with a bucket of tools and took the lid.
There I found that the radome was full of water, salt and corrosion. My hopes to be able to repair the problem were instantly sunk as there was too much corrosion in the circuit boards.
So, now I can confirm that I will not have any radar on my approach to the coast, and the grand banks! (a relatively shallow group of underwater plateaus southeast of Newfoundland) I am extremely relieved that the race Ice Gate is South and if necessary I will change my route to avoid any risk of ice.
It was fun swinging around halfway up the mast. A good test of my climbing gear in gentle conditions. And I am proud to say that I didn't drop anything!!!
Today has been a busy day onboard Roxy. As predicted, we have run into an area of light wind. The whole fleet has slowed down, and now it will be interesting to see who escapes first....
Calms are often worse than storms, and at first I started to think that all the others were sailing fast and it was just me stuck becalmed.
At one point there was so little wind that I rolled away the Code 0 because it was trying to destroy itself flapping around. The thing is that there is a swell out here, so even though there is no wind, Roxy is rolling around and that flings the sails around wildly.
I was worried that the main was going to break something on the mast too but I couldn't face dropping it, as that would be a sure way to make the wind come back and I would have to pull all 150kg of it up again!
Luckily the position reports show me that I am not alone in this frustration and all the others are showing similarly shameful speeds! Once I realized it was easier to cope with and I did my boat-checks. Erwan from my shore team has sent me a list of things to check onboard, which is a great help as I can go around the boat and tick them off one by one.
I did all the checks and everything is fine. But I found a couple of 'gremlins' (a bolt working its way loose on my pilot ram, a wire disconnected from my spare pilot ....) So I managed to fix these potential problems before they could have caused bigger damage.
Now there is a little bit more wind, totally the opposite direction to what I was expecting, but we are moving along and that sound of water trickling along the side of the hull makes me feel happy!
Now the important thing is to make sure that Roxy is going as fast as possible at all times, and in these light and fickle winds that is a full-time job (day and night)!
At 18:00 GMT, Sam Davies was in seventh position, 150 miles from the leader
To follow Roxy and Sam Davies’ progress: www.roxysailing.com or www.samdavies.com
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