Headache Day Monday 9th March

Despite having fixed almost everything we could before departing Cochin the job list has grown again. Chief amongst the issues was the inlet pipe leaking on the watermaker pump. Kevin removed the front half of the bunk base and fortunately discovered he could just reach it to tighten the clip without having to further dismantle the pump.

Sadly when checking things over a couple more issues were found. The Clark pump that generates the pressure to push water through the membrane has a leaking seal. We have no replacement so had to make do with tightening it slightly, it’s still leaking a very small amount. The second issue is a pinhole leak in the stainless high pressure pipework, all that can be done is tape and clamp it to reduce the leak. Hopefully these repairs will see us through to Europe. Fresh, potable water is otherwise going to be a huge headache for us over the next month or so. No showers and no laundry unless salt water is used.

Sometimes you have to wait a long time to be vindicated – many years ago Paul March and I were persuaded at a boat show stall to purchase a reel of ‘rescue tape’. Kevin thought we were foolish. Today my reel finally got used to seal the pipe! As an aside the pipe is the second stainless item to corrode through recently, the other being the water trap on the engine exhaust. Both conduct raw seawater which set the skipper wondering if we had sailed through something corrosive in recent months. We will never know.

Meanwhile I decided to replace the rotting release string on the danbuoy light (when the danbuoy is launched into the water the string, tied to the boat, pulls off the flag cover and releases the light switch). Again the problems where greater. The 9V battery in the light had leaked dissolving the fitting it attached to, the floating line that attaches the pole with the light to the horseshoe life ring was rotten as was one of the tapes on the drogue. The section of rotten line was cut out and the remainder retied, the tape was doubled over at its rotten section and hand sewn so that good tape is attached to good tape and the release string replaced which involved ‘sewing’ it through the holes in the rubber flag cover with a large darning needle. Kevin will make an electrical connection up when we’ve got a new battery.

Emails were sent this morning to agents in Suakin and Suez updating them on our estimated arrival dates. At the same time we downloaded a GRIB file (weather forecast) for the next week. It brought bad news; the winds at Bab al Mandeb look to be increasing through this week. Tomorrow and Wednesday look safe to attempt a passage through but beyond that the forecast is for 30 or 35 knots which is a near gale and likely to be higher at gale force in the gusts. It’s a narrow place with rough, steep seas most of the time, the advice is not to attempt it in strong winds. As we can’t possibly reach there by Wednesday morning, we have to stay put until we see a weather break. A delay sadly may mean Temptress does not have time to stop at Massawa and Suakin as planned and our morning emails were premature.

After lunch an apparently simple job of replacing a screw holding up the supporting beam in our cabin turned into a marathon effort as most screwdrivers were too long to fit the gap between the underside of the beam and the hull. Hanging upside down with his head in the bilge did not enhance the skipper’s bad day at all.

Still to be tackled are the loose stanchion base discovered as we left India, it will need both bolts replacing. Plus the toe rail leak, temporarily sealed at sea, needs a new bolt but there are no more in the spares box so the temporary repair will have to remain in lace until Greece or somewhere. The autopilot head is still working so for now, having retrieved a spare cable from the electrical spares box under the aft bunk just in case, it will be left as it is.

Must put in an appearance after lunch and took our cans and those from Complexity to fill; the last seven jerrycans now just need to be tied back on the rail. Rather belatedly mid afternoon the laundry was rinsed and hung to dry, bread was made and for the last task of a busy day supper for six is being prepared so we can catch up on news with Complexity. Sweet and sour sauce for mahimahi, black bean and lentil curry and chap chye (a Nonya favourite vegetable dish ) plus rice. Much appreciated by all.

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