Now that the gang is back on dry land, Dave had a few reflections on the journey. He says that one of the most disconcerting things was during the long crossing in the heavy seas, as he sat below at the nav station listening to the rigging twang. Whenever the boat hit a big wave, the rigging sounded like it was tearing apart from the boat. In fact, the day the sheet failed and made a big banging noise, Dave thought for certain the whole rig had finally come loose and they were going to have to cut it away from the decks.
Oh, and one mechanical issue that happened earlier in the trip was the bilge pump failure. On port side tack, the boat would lean so far over that the bilge pump intake ran dry, but since the bilge pump sensor was on the low side of the compartment, the switch kept the pump turned on. The pump is supposed to be a “run dry” pump that won’t burn out if it runs when no water is available for it to pump, alas, the pump died anyway. Dave pulled the spare out of the cabinet, only to realize the spare wasn’t an exact match for the existing bilge pump and required extensive re-work of the pipes. Undesirable at best given the conditions. So the guys decide they will just manually pump the water out of the compartment every so often. So they go looking for the manual pump handle. They open the compartment where the handle should be located, only to find the compartment is so completely jumbled up that they can’t find the handle. So they used a socket wrench handle to operate the pump manually.
When you are sailing so much, you realize your batteries discharge faster than you might think. Never a problem on Apsaras as we motor sail so much. But on Saltydog, the gang put up the solar panels during the day because it meant they could go without running the engine for days at a time. But at one point, recalibration of the ammeter became necessary to keep better track of how the batteries were doing so we could decide whether we needed to run the engine or not.
It’s also clear to him that he had the perfect crew. The day the sheet got wrapped around the prop, he would not have been able to dive and get it off. It took Mike’s amazing swimming skills, and Dave at the helm to solve that problem. On so many occasions the crew pulled together despite things gone wrong – each crew member adding their own skills to the mix. Only together were they able to overcome all the challenges the trip threw their way.