Dream Away Update 11-Nov-2004
This update is really a good news/bad news update. We had planned (guideline) to Leave Houston on the morning of the ninth of November to sail to the Dry Tortugas, and then on to Miami. Very late, on the eighth, we were still packing provisions and some tools, still had one more trip to the storeroom for the remainder of the sails, we decided not to leave on the morning of the ninth. We would be dead tired and we still had two problems that showed up during the evening of the eighth. We decided that we would leave the morning of the 10th, we would be rested and much more relaxed.
The two problems were the spreader lights. The mizzen lights had shorted out and needed to be investigated. While we were down below packing and visiting with friends, we thought that someone had thrown a beer bottle on the deck of the boat. As it turned out it was one of the main spreader lights. The lens had just fallen to the deck!
On the ninth, we were able to finish packing, and get the spreader lights repaired. We got to go to bed at a reasonable time, so on the morning of the tenth we were refreshed and ready to go.
The morning of the 10th all crew were loaded and we were away from the dock by 0815. We stopped and got fuel and left the fuel dock at 0917 underway for the Dry Tortugas. We had an uneventful trip down the Houston Ship Channel and passed the jetties at about 1330.
I got off of watch at 1600 and went down to take a nap. While I was napping the on deck crew was having a very difficult time keeping the boat on course. When I awoke, my first comment was that the crew was over reacting, so I got on the helm, and sure enough the steering was not operating properly.
We checked the pump and topped off the fluid, not very low. It was obvious that we had a problem with the hydraulic steering pump. We decided that we should turn around and head back to Houston to get that problem fixed. The good news was that the auto pilot could steer a pretty good course, so we are actually heading back up the Houston Ship Channel using the auto pilot to steer the vessel.
This of course could cause our Thanksgiving plans to change, but will not know until I can get the parts off of the boat and to the hydraulic repair folks.
The bottom line is that our original plan may not work out, so we will keep everyone informed as we work it out. I am ever hopeful, but realistically, we shall see.--
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