Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Things Do Go "Clunk" In The Night!

The Trillium Crew: Jeff, Gary, Sherry & Dennis
Trillium is not racing in the Rally. We are part of the Open Class. The Open Class crossed the Start Line after the racing group. We quickly caught up with and passed some of them. Then it became very interesting as boats started blocking each others' wind and cutting them off at the turns. It was quite fun to watch, but a little nerve-racking to be in the middle of it!

Life on board was pleasant for the first two days as we sailed North. Then the hum of the motor became annoying as it was a 24/7 drum. Watch shifts were working well - even though Jeff was ill, he took his turn at the 3-6 AM watch.

Functioning as the Galley Manager became more difficult as the winds got stronger and clocked around to the North-Northeast. At times I needed someone to hold the pans on the gimbled stove while I managed other tasks in the galley. It became a real juggling act for both cooking and eating. But dinner was served!

Then it happened! Just before midnight when Dennis and I were on watch, there was a loud clunk, bang, thud or ... in the engine! We shut it down and started checking the engine room. On restarting it, we noticed a strong vibration so we kept the rpms low and continued on course. The next day we contacted Roger at Free State Yachts in Maryland on the satellite phone to get suggestions for solving the problem. We thought it was a clutch or some mechanical part. He thought we may have something around the propeller. There was no way I was going to let Dennis dive under the boat in 8' seas 400 miles from land!

At one point, Dennis asked Jeff to check the engine exhaust output. Since he wasn't sure where to look, he looked in the "wrong" place. Actually it turned out to be the right place because he spotted a long green streamer flowing out behind the stern! Once again we shut down the engine and started pulling in this green "monster."  We had caught a large polypropylene fish net!

It had been wrapped around the prop and the line cutters had done a number on it (probably the vibration we were feeling). And it was hung up on the skeg rudder. Once we had it aboard, the vibration stopped and the engine hummed. The wheel was easier to turn.

Life was good - again! And on we went - "driving" to Bermuda!

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