The {moist} Atlantic Crossing

DAY SEVEN: May 11th

Everything is wet.

It’s been raining, the wind has moved forward from south-west to south-east and we are now heading east and sailing into it. The waves have been crashing over the boat from starboard bow to port stern, (diagonally across the entire boat from right to left) and if there’s a tiny leak somewhere it’s now a flood.  Every space in the boat feels like it has moisture in it. If I don’t get some shelter, Oh yeah, I’m gonna fade away. I thought that the worst was above the galley, a leak we’ve been trying unsuccessfully to locate for moths, but then the emergency hatch on the starboard hull starts leaking.  Although the hatch is between the hulls the seas have been pounding it.   And what started as a small trickle just a couple of hours earlier has become enough to fill a cup with sea water each time a wave hits.  As the hatch is only inches above the water, the waves hit it incessantly.   In fact, (prior to the leak) I sometimes like to hang out down here and look out of these windows to the sea – the emergency hatches are behind the stairs on either side of the boat that lead down to the galley (starboard side) or nav station (port side) – because waves cover them quite often you can see what’s underwater, even if it’s only the other hull.  It’s pretty cool.  Anyway, my view is definitely spoiled by the flood of seawater.  If the leak continues to get bigger at this rate, it will allow water into the boat faster than my bilge pumps can handle and the starboard side of the boat will fill up!  Holes in boats:  not a good thing.

I wake up Steve who is good at carpentry and show him what’s going on.   I pull on the handle and if I pull hard enough the leak stops.  So Steve suggests getting something that we can attach to the handle so that we can pull on that.  I’ve got a locking bar that goes across the handles.  That works great.  Then Steve suggests tying something around it to a stationary object so that we can pull the exit shut.  I’ve got a ratchet strap and we can tie it around one of the steps.  We perform a little carpentry to ensure that the step is secure, attach the strap, tighten, and voila.  No leak.   Big {sigh} relief.

DAY EIGHT: May 12th.

Time to repair the water damage

Emma-Kate and I sit watch together again from 4-7am.  The watch schedule cycles every three days, so every day you do watches with a new partner just to mix it up a little – and then on the third day you are back to your original partner.  We’ve got the schedule posted so it can be easily seen in the cockpit:


I’ve had the boat switch to GMT/Azores time yesterday so at 7am it’s not quite dawn yet because we’re still 900 nautical miles from the Azores.  But with all the other systems already on GMT I just decided to make the switch early.  The phosphorescence is awesome in the dark, wet, stormy, rainy night.  But it’s cold and we huddle together in a corner in the driest spot just outside the salon on the port side.  It’s lovely to spend time together and go to bed at the same time.   But at bedtime, there is noise of water sloshing around.  I open up the bilge in our cabin, and it is COMPLETELY full of water.  Somehow the bilge pump switch has been turned off (by accident) and as all the water from the multitude of leaks end up in the bilge, it’s full.  We pump it out and go to bed tired, damp, and exhausted by the weather.

Then at 11:30am I’m woken up with another “emergency”.  There’s a flood on the other (starboard) side of the boat.  The wind had died, the engine had been turned on, and Brett and Tracy had both (independently) decided to use the warm water generated by the engines to take showers (good idea!)  But for some reason the water isn’t draining from their shower drains and it’s flooding everywhere.   As I investigate, I have to look at the bilge under the galley floor, but as there’s been a leak above the galley for a few days, the floorboards have expanded and I can’t open up the bilges.  I call in the muscle: Brett opens up the bilge like it’s child’s play.  I check the filter on the gray water pump (gray water = shower and sink water)  it is COMPLETELY blocked with the ugliest, smelliest, gunk known to humanity.   I take it out, clean it, and all is OK.  I do the same with the port side as an ounce of prevention.   Put baking powder and vinegar down the drains to sanitize it.   And it’s all working.

Now I’ve got to go forward to the trampoline.  In the foul weather we’ve lost one of the rods that supports the port side of the trampoline and we’re in danger of losing another and possibly the whole netting.  So I’ve got to go and rig up a repair.  Brett helps.  It’s cold and wet up there, but we substitute some line for the rod and get it done.


David’s got his own work cut out from him defending his own against Paloma’s chess onslaught.


It’s 1pm.  {Sigh}.  Finally I can have some breakfast!

And then I find out that in the middle of all of this, Paloma – while challenging David to Chess – has made Pizza FROM SCRATCH. Go Girl! Skipping breakfast and going straight to lunch.



About the Author