We got work to do

We had some critical chores to take care of at this last big town before we sail further north.

We’ve had difficulty getting Escape Velocity’s sails trimmed properly and wanted to get a rigger to take a look, not just for tuning but to make sure everything’s copacetic before we head back out to the big stuff. We found someone we liked and trusted and he did a thorough inspection of everything, then scheduled another time to tune and adjust. We’d forgotten that we replaced the forestay a year ago and it’s stretched considerably since then so we knew we needed some tuning. When the appointed day came the rigger sent another guy who was a catamaran racer. His instincts were to really crank down on the stays but when the doors down below stopped lining up we had a bit of a clash of the titans. We called the original guy and we all compromised on tension. Now the doors still shut but the rig is well tuned, a fact we confirmed when we started sailing again and found how much better we could trim the sails and how much quieter the whole rig is.

A tough but necessary job was to end-for-end the anchor chain. We carry 275 feet of chain but really only the first half of it gets used regularly, and often less than that. Turning it around puts fresher chain on the working end and will help us sleep at night. Any boater will tell you good ground tackle is the best insurance.

Once the chain is reconnected it all has to be marked again so we can put the right amount out for the depth we’re in and the conditions. It was pretty much an all day job.

Finally we installed a life raft, courtesy of a gift from Drew. Yes, it’s true, we sailed nearly halfway around the world without a liferaft but with an empty bracket where the original raft used to be, gone before we bought the boat. We’ve joined a rally for the first time for our trip through Indonesia and a raft is one of the safety requirements. They don’t actually check, just take your word for it, but we figured the Indian Ocean was not to be messed.

I spent a few weeks talking with vendors up the coast and we chose an appropriate raft for our boat. When I called to place the order the company said they didn’t have the 4-man raft we wanted and offered a 6-man for the same price. Deal! We had it sent to Cairns and hired a welder to adapt our existing bracket to accommodate the different geometry of the new canister.

We send many thanks again to Drew for bringing us up to spec on safety. A liferaft is something you hope you never use but like good ground tackle, helps us sleep at night.

While we were in Cairns we got a welcome visit from the crew of Enki II. Alex and Diana were on a Queensland vacation from chilly Sydney and we were all thrilled that their schedule and ours lined up. They met us on EV and then treated us to a great dinner out. The best part is that they’re on their way to Cooktown and so are we. There will be more Enki Time soon.

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