Fighting the Gulf Stream Off of Cuba

Sunday, July 20, 2003
Underway

023-31.920 N
083-3.000 W
Marine forecast for this location

Ahoy from Straights of Florida!

Havana is about 40 miles to our port and we're fighting a 3.5 kt Gulf Stream and are only making 3.5 to 4 kts headway. We motor-sailed out of Key West yesterday at around noon with little wind. What wind we had dropped off to nothing so the sails eventually came down. The good news is that there hasn't been any wind for several days so the seas are very flat. The bad news is that the forecast is predicted to remain the same for the quite some time, so the engine is our source of propulsion. (I just went above and saw that the winds have dropped off to 5 kts again. Our speed over ground is 2.7 kts against a 3.7 kt current. Man this is going to be a long passage!)

Not really too much to report. A Coast Guard cutter without running lights snuck up on us during the night and I had to be awakened to answer 60 questions. They were very nice and thankfully didn't board us. Sue said that she was sure that she heard helicopter before that, but couldn't see one. Doesn't surprise me. I guess that they're just doing their job.

Oh, and Houston, we have a problem...with the refrigeration. Before we left I determine that I needed to change the refrigerant capacity of the expansion valves in the freezer and refrigerator. This involves emptying the food out of both compartments, letting the cold plates warm up, emptying the refrigerant, changing the orifices in the expansion valves, vacuuming the system, recharging it, and then tuning it. I got all of that done the day before we left and decided to leave the gauges hooked up so that I could monitor the system. It appears that a valve on the gauge got bumped and caused it to leak refrigerant. The real problem is that it was the suction side and caused air to get pulled in, which will require that the system be vacuumed down which requires the cold plates to be at room temp...Happily the boat has dual refrigeration systems and the engine drive system is working just fine.

Well, that's all from here! I'll report in again tomorrow AM.

-- Geoff, Sue & Bill
Log ID: 389

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