24 September 2008 | South Pacific
Well the traveler deteriorated today. It was holding together most of the day and toward the end of the day we tried to set up for a jibe. As we carefully pulled the traveler to port the forward side of the traveler car began to spit out plastic ball bearings. It now looked ready to come off the track.
We dropped the main and put a line around the end of the boom to the starboard quarter cleat to control the boom if the traveler let go. We tried to move it back to starboard all the way to the lock (it is about a foot or two out) so that if it came off, the starboard control lines on the car would be as short as possible and keep it under control. It moved a little and then jammed. I didn't want to mess with it further because we have a 2 meter swell and there is just no way to control the flow of ball bearings up there in the bimini.
So we are now a trawler. We are doing 6 knots with one engine at 1,750 RPMs. We are burning about 1 to 1.3 gallons an hour and in the worst case can motor 5-6 more days. Our destination in Palmerston but we are considering ditching at Aitutake (218nm away). Tomorrow during daylight we're going to try to jury rig the boom so that we can get some main back up. The main adds at least a knot to the motor even in this very light wind (10 knots True, less than 10 apparent).
The South Pacific Convergence Zone is a wind convergence area much like the ITCZ which forms up at times in this area creating conditions like the ITCZ. It is the cause of our light wind and mildly squally weather. The frontal bit and sheer line is running from Roratonga to Niue right now and conditions south and west of there are tough. We are trying to stay north of the mess. Ten know of wind from astern is not optimal but 3 meter choppy seas and 25 knots with 35 knot squalls is certainly no fun when you have issues.
So we are now heading to the place with the best weather, a supply of diesel and the ability to have our part flown in quick. All is well on board of course. We have the boom secured, the sails down and the starboard motor humming.
399 nm to Palmerston