In the early afternoon Jens and I drive Sissi to Barcadera to clear out. It has become routine now, the last time was only a good week ago. Then we are free, we set sail and again we sail for the last time along the coast of Aruba, past the hotels and to the California Lighthouse. Then we pull the pods really tight, Sissi has to be as close to the wind as the sails allow. After we have the protection of Aruba behind us, we dig our way through high waves. The wind blows at six to seven wind speeds.
Conditions are rougher than on May 1st. This becomes noticeable after a few hours when Jens says goodbye and asks me to hand him the cleaning bucket. There is a pungent bilge smell throughout the boat, which this time caused the seasickness. Okay, I don't have to cook dinner. I feed on the snacks that are lying around in abundance in the boat. It's getting evening, it's getting dark, it's getting night. The lights of Aruba still shimmer on the horizon.
I notice that the bilge is full. We're on the port bow, we refilled the fresh water tank a few hours ago. If you make the tank too full, the excess liters will run into the bilge. Don't worry, we have enough electricity for the bilge pump. After a few minutes, she tells me with a shuffling noise that the water has been pumped out. Well. The smell also disappears with the water. Note: If the bilge stinks, there is a reason. A general cleaning is due at home.
At 2 a.m. I wake Jens, I have a 10-hour shift behind me. I spent hours setting up the wind pilot and trim the sails. It's been about perfect since midnight. I haven't had to intervene in the controls since midnight. Whenever I sit down in the back to adjust the windpilot, a good load of water comes from the bow over the deck. Really sparkling!
An almost perfect handover. Jens is not completely fit, but he is not completely unfit either. That's enough for the watch. I crawl into my bunk and get a few minutes of sleep. Jens reefs the genoa a little, the click of the winch only slightly penetrates my subconscious. It feels like only a few minutes have passed when the sound of the hand-operated bilge pump penetrates my brain. Sorry?
It's 3 a.m. Jens informs me that the water in the salon is above the floorboards and that the electric bilge pump has failed. He pumps while I jump out of bed and start investigating the cause. I also bypass the tired electric pump fuse in the hope that it will then pump properly again. But she doesn't pump. Jens calls for the bucket again, after a few minutes at the pump he is again firmly in the hand of seasickness. The workout sucks.
At 4 a.m. the water level in the bilge fell by about 20 centimeters. It is definitely not the contents of our water tank, but crystal clear sea water. The inflow must matter. I check all sea valves and the other openings on Sissi through which water could enter. In between I pump again and again until my arms almost fall off. This will be the sore muscles of my life. I decide we'll give ourselves two hours to troubleshoot, otherwise we'll have to return to Aruba. Jens groans his approval.
An hour later I was able to lower the level by a full meter. In the meantime, it occurred to me that in my early past as a boat owner a certain problem had arisen: water ingress through the sea valve of the electric bilge pump when we were sailing on the port bow. A few minutes later the bilge is dry again and the water level is no longer rising rapidly. We don't have to turn back. I take the electric pump out of operation, the sea cock is closed. In an emergency, I can still use the watermaker as an electric pump, it can even process a few liters an hour.
Around 7 a.m. it's enough for me. The sun has risen. I'm soaked in sweat, my upper arms are burning. Sailing is definitely a sport. I shower and use it to refill the bilge. Then I let Jens relieve me and find a few hours of rest. Phew We would have gone back to Aruba and put Sissi ashore. Then I would have had to look for a solution for the coming year. We're still on the way, Sissi is swimming, actually we're fine. Now I'm going to make us a goulash.
1st Etmal: 77.7 miles