1/2 way to Florida

Date: March 12, 2017, noon Position: 22 49.38 N, 70 47.83 W

A classic gear failure today: the ship’s head! For the past few days, the head (toilet) has developed an alarming habit of spraying a jet of fecal water from the flapper-valve every time we pumped to flush. The offending “waters” would leap up out of the bowl and spray under the seat & lid, and even onto your shirt and face, if you weren’t ginger about finessing the handle as you pumped. I tried probing the flapper but it only made the jet stronger! Finally today, the head failed to flush altogether. I was barely able to pump out the bowl back to clear seawater, and then promptly dumped a bunch of chemicals into the bowl, wiped down all surfaces, and taped the damn lid shut so we won’t “forget”. The ship’s head is closed for business until further notice. There’s a few things I won’t do at sea, and re-building the head is definitely one of them! For the remainder of the passage, it’s a 5-gallon bucket experience. I was planning on re-building the head upon haul-out anyway, so it’s just as well that we put the beast to rest. She, like the Monitor, has served us so well on this circumnavigation, and we only have a few more days at sea so it’s OK.

I spent the day mulling over all the options for when the north winds kick up in a few days. I’m hoping we can turn the corner at the north end of Eleuthera Island before the strongest winds. Then, we will have the option of pressing on into the winds, or run down to Nassaum the only really safe deep-water port in the Bahamas. I’m hoping we can press on because there’s a flat $300 fee to clear into the Bahamas, and Nassau sounds like a cruise-ship traffic jam–the kind of place better left unseen…however, if need be, any safe port in a storm is a sailor’s bliss, and we’re all about safety at sea.

After noon the winds went light again so our nice sailing that we started on at sunset yesterday came to an end, and we fired up the iron jib again. It is becoming clear that fuel economy will be an issue on this passage, so we are keeping the RPMs low to maintain optimum m.p.g. At the same time, we need to get as far north as possible to set up for the blow, so it’s a delicate balance.

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