Image courtesy of Aloha Accommodation
The trip from Adelaide to Robe was a real baptism of fire for us. Heading down St Vincent Gulf the wind picked up and we had frequent 20 knot gusts. We discovered two things very quickly, Margaret suffers from terrible sea sickness when the wind is over 10 knots, and the auto-pilot wasn’t working.
Great Escape has a good auto-pilot and we tested it by powering it on and off assuming that if it had power, it would work. No matter what we tried we couldn’t get the auto-pilot to work. Every time we set the auto-pilot it simply veered off course and wandered all over the place. We decided to take four hour shifts steering the boat. With three of us steering it wouldn’t be too bad and we would be able to get some sleep on the trip which would see us at sea for two nights.
We then discovered that Margaret does not like winds over 10 knots and she spent a great deal of time feeding, or at least trying to, feed the fish. Eventually we gave up trying to get her to steer and bundled her up in the cockpit trying to keep her as comfortable as possible. Geoffrey and Peter did 6 hours shifts steering the boat with Geoffrey being far more proficient than Peter. It was a tough trip and we were really glad to get to Robe, a small village catering mainly to tourists but clearly not doing well, there were many vacant buildings and a few businesses for sale.
Coming in to Robe we knew that we would have to watch the water depth carefully, Great Escape has a draft of 1.7m and there was little margin for error coming into the harbour. We had the depth sounder on and were watching the depth carefully when we ran aground. The depth sounder indicated that we had plenty of water below us but clearly we didn’t. We then discovered that the depth sounder was in test mode, another lesson learnt. Fortunately we managed to free the boat without too much difficulty and it was a happy crew once the boat was tied up at the marina. Time to find the showers.
Finding decent showers and bathrooms would be another challenge for us on this trip. Some were good, some average and others downright ugly. The facilities in Robe were average, we could use the sailing club showers which weren’t too bad but could only use the public bathrooms which were in the downright ugly category.
Upon checking the cupboards in the saloon we found that the problem with the muddy water hadn’t been solved. The tinned food was again covered in muddy water and again took hours to clean. Time for a new theory.
It was clear that the water was moving through an area of the boat that we hadn’t been able to clean. The question was, how was it getting into the boat? The next theory was that the water was entering from the back of the boat and traveling through the exhaust cavity under the aft cabin. The most likely possibility was that the water was coming in from the exhaust housing at the back of the boat. Perhaps the water was coming in through a crack in the sealant between the housing and the exhaust, traveling through the cavity under the aft cabin and landing up in the cupboards in the saloon. In the absence of a better theory, it became the working theory. Peter went into the village to get some Sikaflex and started working on the problem only to discover that the Sikaflex was out of date. We would have to spend an extra day in Robe sorting the problem out.
Time would tell if this theory was correct.