We left Villamil at 8 AM yesterday, Thursday. There was no wind, and we do mean no wind for the first 24 hours. That's the bad news, but there is good news. We decided to follow the advice of the Visual Planner and headed out 250 degress since we had to motor anyway. The wildlife we saw until leaving the south end of Isabela was fantastic. The water was totally calm and we saw lots of marine turtles. They were just floating on the top of the water until they would look up and notice us. Then down they would go.
Then we saw 2 fins that were about 5-6' apart. Until we saw some up close, we were not sure what these were. They must have been mantas because they were so huge! When we could get close enough we could see the dark shape of a ray just at the top of the water. The two "fins" were the tips of their wings. They must hold them that way in order to balance right at the surface. What magnificent creatures these were and we saw perhaps 30 of them. Just before we got to the southern end of the island we saw two whales slither in an arc across the surface and dive deep.
The other good news is that there must be a strong current with us when we leave there. After 10 hours we had gone 60 miles at 1800 rpm and we had used only 5 gallons of fuel. All good things must end. About 11:30 last night our transmission started clattering to beat the band. The engine got turned off and we wallowed around in no wind with no speed with the mainsail banging back and forth. When Sander awoke for his watch, he started the repairs.
From Sander: Turned out that the shaft brake that I so nicely repaired in Isabela had busted off another brake shoe. The thing is more or less like a hydraulically activated caliper on a disk. The caliper is activated by hydraulic pressure (or lack thereof) when transmission is in or out of gear.
Reason for that to fail and another brake shoe to go is that the spring tensioner had started to leak oil at elevated rates. So the transmission went dry, the brake activated and brake shoe got peeled off thereby having steel against the disk causing the clanking. Rather than trying to fix this mess, I decided to remove the complete brake assembly and associated parts.
One of those parts is an hydraulic hose coming off the low pressure side of the trans. The hydraulic fitting has a 3/8 inch NPT connection for the hose. I have every other plug size except that one and use a bolt with teflon tape and fill trans with oil and off we go. One hour later the engine starts to surge and I suspect dirty fuel filter and switch filter...no change. shut down engine and look at trans which is covered in oil due to bolt in 3/8" npt hole leaking like a sieve. All transmission fluid is in the Pacific and some still in the bilge. Have to ream out this steel hydraulic fitting with tapered reamer which I have and tap with 1/2" NPT for plug that I have. All completed and reassembled and trans refilled with fluid. All is well now and no longer loosing oil, except we are a bit low and can't afford to loose more. We are OK and have enough! Fortunately by 10 am the winds have picked up and we are on beam reach approximately 210 deg heading doing anywhere between 4-8.5 knots with engine off. Winds are 0-8 knots. skies are blue and no overcast. No fish biting and we only have about 2700 miles to go.
Fair sailing. Don't be strangers!
Best regards, Sander and Jane