Last night the skipper had hardly slept worrying about our latest winch problem and also wondering if we were safe when the weather got a little rougher and Temptress swung into slightly shallower water. His mate slept soundly through it all apart from being vaguely aware of very heavy rain!
As usual when we had anchored off Motu Faama Kevin attached the bridle that enables the pressure of the chain and anchor to be transferred to the mooring cleats either side of the bow and not be taken directly by the anchor windlass but as he let out some more chain so that the weight was on the bridle, the windlass slipped. The clutch was not engaging. Half an hour later after the application of those two engineering problem solvers WD40 and a big hammer it engaged again enabling the hook and bridle to be attached to the chain. In the morning the windless behaved perfectly as we raised the anchor to head back across Rangiroa lagoon.
It however added another worry to our list of things to potentially sort out in Tahiti. It was growing longer almost daily; a replacement anchor for the one we lost in Hiva Oa, a sticking solenoid in the starter motor (this has been an ongoing minor irritation since somewhere mid-crossing from Panama with the usually reliable engine not always starting first time but has now become a regular occurrence), the possible need for a replacement dinghy though so far the repair seems to be holding up well with only an infrequent need for extra inflation, and now this problem with the windlass. All potentially expensive issues that our limited budget can ill afford. Nor if we are to reach Singapore by November do we want to spend time waiting for parts to be shipped in so we hope both the skills and the parts will be available.
Our plan for Thursday was therefore to lift the dinghy on deck as a precaution in case the windlass failed completely and we found ourselves heading directly to sea, then head back across. Depending on how the windlass behaved whilst raising the anchor either spend the night at anchor off the Kia Ora resort or take the afternoon slack water through the pass at Avaturo and head to Tahiti 200 nm or a day and a half south at 5 knots. Today is Thursday and we’d prefer to be there by Sunday as a period of stronger south easterly winds (20 knots average) are forecast for overnight Sunday through to Tuesday morning and we don’t want to be beating on a course south of south west into them. Alternately we could wait a few days til the weather has passed and then head out. Decisions, decisions!