Hi folks,  Kirk on Salsa here writing you from Trinidad after another 28 day passage from Salvador Brazil.  I arrived over a week ago but have been too busy working on Salsa to write a proper update so this will have to suffice for now.  On the passage I wrote mostly in the log and very little on the computer but I did try to take a 1 minute video each day to try something new.  The wifi here is pretty bad and I’ve managed to get only a handful of the videos uploaded so far with more to come when I can but for those who want to see what’s uploaded so far you can go here; http://s192.beta.photobucket.com/user/kirkalittle/library/?view=albums
and then click “Sub Albums” to for the “passage from Brazil to Trinidad” folder.

One thing Albergerers might find interesting is that I left Salvador Brazil the same day as a 39ft catamaran who had gained a 200 mile lead during the heavier winds of the first 1/3 of the trip.  Salsa still managed to arrive 3 days before the cat by making all the miles back and then plenty more in the light winds of the ITCZ/Doldrums.  As illustrated in one of the videos there was a lot of broad reaching in around 7 or 8 kits of wind or less and even reefed down to the 2nd or 3rd reef (only to tighten up the sail and stop the slapping/luffing from the 6ft or so seas) plus about 1/2 of the 145 Genoa way forward on a long pole I was averaging around 3.5kts over water plus another knot or so of current making for reasonable progress.  With exception to running the motor for half of the day during the departure and arrival (where there were near calms and too much shipping traffic/current to drift) the total engine use was negligible, maybe around 15 hours total.  I don’t hear it mentioned often but I really feel that comparatively in the world of cruising yachts, Alberg 30’s are very much light air boats.  When my friends on the big catamaran were starting to move and enjoy the sailing I was usually already reefed way down making a wet 4.5kts which was as fast as I wanted to be going.

Now for some interesting information after pulling off and inspecting the RUDDER HARDWARE after nearly 5 years, and probably around 25,000 miles.  I think I described the repairs / modifications made before starting the circumnavigation in an earlier post or on my website but if there is enough interest I can do a new write-up with more details.  Basically before I started the trip I found that the receiving hole in the rudder shoe was well worn and the pin itself worn to half of its original diameter and just crumbled apart when I tried to pull it out.  The gudgeons wore slightly worn and the pintal/shaft where it holds on was substantially worn down to around 7/8″ or less from 1″.  The repair was to drill and tap a new 1/2″ silicone bronze bolt replacing the lower pin, and to over-drill and press in a new bronze bushing into the shoe (IMHO this makes a lot more sense than getting a new shoe if wear from the pintal is the only problem).   Then a split Delrin bushing was made to fill the gap between the gudgeons and middle pintal/shaft. (same pics posted before of everything are here; http://s192.beta.photobucket.com/user/kirkalittle/library/?view=albums and then click on the “Salsa Rudder Repair”) album)   That repair was a HUGE success, after pulling it apart last week there was very minimal wear on the Delrin bushing and none at all on any of the bronze! I think that could be considered a lifetime fix but I still replaced it while it was apart as the Delrin was getting brittle.  The  bronze bushing in the shoe was considerably worn, I’m guessing the 1/2″ hole in the bushing was now nearly 11/16″ and out of round plus the 1/2″ pin was down to 5/16 at its most narrow point (and out of round as well).  It was the combination of play I could feel between those two worn parts (5000 miles ago in St. Helena) that inspired me to haul out here in Trinidad to inspect (and replace) it all and I simply did the exact same repair as before only this time the old pin came out with a pair of vice grips so I did not even need to ship the rudder.  The only new modification was that the bushing going into the shoe was welded in as the old one had managed to come loose and start to wear the shoe very slightly and I want to contain all the wear to removable parts even though I expect to never do this job again.  I’m guessing here but I’ll go out on a limb and say that the pin would have held on for at least another 5000 miles to easily get my home.  I also tried to get the machine shop to incorporate Delrin into the shoe but for some reason they hated the idea so I dropped it after a short argument.  If anyone needs any further details or would like photos uploaded of the worn parts let me know and I’ll get to it when I can.

On a side note I’m still about another 1000 miles from “tying the knot” either in the Bahamas or Central America but should officially finish this Nov or Dec in Cartagena Colombia and then probably return to U.S. in another year or so.  I will probably be on the hard here in Trinidad for another week doing odd-jobs and new bottom paint but I am checking email regularly so any comments or questions are welcome.  For those of you up north packing things up for the winter just remember there is an alternative, the cruising season down here in the Caribbean is just starting :-).  Maybe someone wants to lease Salsa for a while so I can go home for a visit…

Kirk Little, Salsa #504, Chaguaramas, Trinidad and Tobago, 10’41.N 061’38W

Filed under: sailing

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