Monday, April 07, 2008


We are now on the other side of the world! Down Under as they say! Dawn brought blue skies and fluffy white clouds on the horizon. A picture perfect day for this milestone! We had motored overnight in the calm flat seas of the doldrums, burning up the diesel and lightening the load. But with the sun and the warming of the surface temperature came a nice light breeze from the SE.
But we were not to continue so easily! For days now, the new Harken roller furling rig for the headsail had been very stiff, hard to wind and unwind. The installation of this unit in Puerto Vallarta was a saga of its own but suffice it to say, it was installed and working when we left. The furling line had snapped the first night out, likely due to chafe on one of the stanchion blocks that had been mounted backwards. The pin fell out of the shackle that holds the tack of the sail to the furling
unit allowing the foot of the sail to billow free. Two days ago one of the jib sheets had almost worn through where we had attached the pole for downwind work. In lowering the sail to retie the sheet, I discovered that the foil for the furler was loose and sliding up and down on the forestay. Sorry about all the technical jargon but what had happened was that two set screws that held the foil (aluminum extrusion with slot for sail) onto the drum at the bottom had fallen out. Obviously none of
these fittings had been assembled properly or seized on with locktight as recommended. Before continuing on our last 12 miles to the equator, I went forward to examine the furler unit and attempt a repair. Using it as it was could lead to more serious problems. We lowered the jib, managed to slide the foil up and I tapped two new threads into the holes to keep it in place. Two shackles from the top of the unit were coming loose as well. One pin was hanging on the edge of the shackle and the
other was backed out about half way. These were all secured and seized on and the sail raised again. We were now ready to continue to the celebration awaiting us!
After what seemed an interminable amount of time we finally reached the magical 00 degrees 00 minutes and 00 seconds, marking the center of the earth's axis! The skies had begun to cloud over but as we neared the critical time, a huge patch of blue appeared over us and the sun shone as we popped the champagne and toasted Neptune, God of the Seas!
Along with our friends, Brian and Cathy, on Tarun, we hove to and drifted across the equator. This momentous occasion was followed by lunch! Thank you big sis for the lobster pâté and the chocolate! Thank you Jabula for the Champagne.
It was a wonderful feeling of accomplishment and we savoured the moment! All the planning and effort to reach this point fell away as we gazed ahead to the Southern hemisphere. What new adventures await?

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