Saturday, June 15, 2019

Mahina Kai - Day 1 – Marion to Bermuda – The Start

Mahina Kai - Day 1 – Marion to Bermuda – The Start
Wind SW 16-20kts Seas 3-5ft

A rainy night for the crew dinner gave way to clearing skies.  The day of the race is partly spent recovering from the crew dinner/party the night before, partly making final preparations for the race, and come 12:00: the start!  Thanks to the race committee for all their hard work to setup and manage the race.

There are five size/weight classes at the start, so it takes about an hour to get all boats across the line and into the race.  Thursdays rain storm setup Friday to be a lively sailing day in Buzzards Bay, and since the bay is long and narrow, the SW winds allow plenty of opportunity for strategizing how to best set-up tacks to exit the bay.

Our class was away at 12:55. During the race, we often use the auto-pilot to hold a specific course, but switch back and forth to manual control.  When the auto-pilot is driving the boat, it is normal to see the wheel turn back and forth as the auto-pilot compensates for wind and sea conditions.  About an hour into the race, I noticed that the wheel wasn’t moving.  At all. 

We did some investigation, and found that the auto-pilot mechanism was properly connected and driving the boat – all good there.  However, it appears that the cable connecting the wheel back to the quadrant attached to the rudder has loosened and kinked.  This is why the wheel wasn’t telegraphing the auto-pilot actions.  After much consideration, we determined that this was not a repair we could complete under way, and it would not be safe to begin an ocean crossing without wheel control, so the crew agreed to withdraw from the race and return to port :( 

Egg sandwiches for breakfast, turkey sandwiches for lunch, and dinner was baked chicken with veggies.  Cookie of the day is lighthouses.

 “Never a ship sails out of bay but carries my heart as a stowaway.” - Roselle Mercier Montgomery

#SVMahinaKai #marionbermuda

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