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Velux 5 Oceans - Problems arise for Stanmore-Major

by Chris Stanmore-Major on 6 Apr 2011
Sent back from CSM at sea Velux 5 Oceans ©
Velux 5 Oceans. Latest blog from solo adventurer Chris Stanmore-Major.

Chris writes:

Do you know what I would like right now? A long cold glass of water. The temperature in the cabin as I write this is 36.0C and despite the best efforts of my little fan here it is roasting.


A glass of water though has gone on to the luxury list as of today after my water maker failed to fire up during my first attempts this leg to replace my failing water supply. Due to the light conditions we expected I have only brought 20 liters of water in my jerry cans plus 10 in the grab bags and ten in miscellaneous containers.

This is 20 liters less than I have taken on the other legs and I thought it might be a good little amount to leave off the boat in the name of lightening. Even if I had the extra water the no go on the water maker today would still be a calamity albeit one that would have to be dealt with in four days time.

The water maker draws water from the sea, pressurizes it and forces it through a semi-permeable membrane which basically strains the salt from the water. It is a device that loves to run and can be troublesome if not carefully stored when not in use frequently. Ours saw action on the last three legs and was run up on a daily basis in Punta specifically to ensure it was glitch-free. It seems however that despite this attention it has still built up an algae growth within it which could have blossomed in as little as 24hrs in the warm conditions we have been experiencing.

I changed the pump head this morning to ensure a strong flow and changed all the filters. I then ran the machine with the pressure turned right down for about an hour which normally flushes any unwanted organic matter out and yet still it refuses to produce water. Oh no hang on that's not true- if ken and Barbie were off on a trip on their yacht we could have filled their tanks with the cup full I managed to drag out of it around midday.

My plan is as follows. I have discovered that hitting it makes it produce a little water, therefore I propose hitting it a lot until I can get under a rain cloud and capture some water off the mainsail. It's not of a plan I grant you but it does cover today and that's a start. Plan B is to nip into Recife a little further up the coast and tank up with some big jerry cans to get me to Charleston. This is a more logical plan but I don't like the idea of stepping off the race course.

Yes I may be behind but the distances are still very small and there is a long way to go.

Plan Charlie is to make an investigation into the effects of prolonged dehydration on solo sailors and just ignore the problem. This in the short term could be of great interest to medical practitioners reading this but I fear it may only have a limited life as a 'get me home' tactic.

It's up in the air at the moment- I still have a few tricks up my sleeve including hitting it with a hammer and shaking it violently- I will tell l you tomorrow how I got on with those. Until then each time you open the tap in the next 24hrs spare a thought for me - at the moment I am eyeing up the mouthwash and wondering how much I can drink before I lose my sight. It could be a long time until I get a full cup of water to myself.

http://www.velux5oceans.com
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