1 June 2005 - Day 3 Cork Harbour, Ireland
I arrived in Cork at around 6.30am this morning and it was raining heavily. I was stuck at the front gate, which required a security number to open. Luckily someone walked past with a rubber boat on to trailer who gave me the security number that let me open the gate. There was nobody in the marina office so I decided to go to the Royal Cork Yacht Club in Cross haven, which is the oldest Yacht Club in the world (established 1720) to find someone who understands yachting and could help me to communicate with equipment suppliers.
It took a lot of time to get my problems with the battery and alternator over, but I managed to arrange a phone call to the correct company to find out if they have the spare parts I need. I found out that John Dunipace had already been in contact with them and so they knew about my problem. After discussing the problems (with help from the Royal Cork Yacht Club) I decided to check the connection wires from my battery and alternator before buying parts. The wires were rusty and damaged by battery acid. I disconnected the plug connections and then reconnected them. It got bloody worse and now I was really worried as my dream was fading!
I realised that replacing all the electrical wires attached to my battery was my last chance to get back to sea so I got to work. It was very hot and uncomfortable in the small area of the boat where the engine sits. I could only move my hands and wrists. As carefully as possible I cut the wires one by one as my glasses steamed up! I worked on the engine for four hours. At one point, around 2pm, I realised that three wires were disconnected and I didn’t know where and on which side of the connection they belonged. “Oh *F@$#S#F#!” - I went to a motor boat in the marina to look at its motor and electrical connections, which looked similar. I managed to draw a diagram of its electrical layout. After finishing the job all that was left to do was press the starter button and pray. Running at last, I watched the battery charge to13 .8 volts. “That’s good enough” I thought, at last I can turn my attention to fixing the Quest II’s self-steering system.
I went back to the company that sells self-steering systems who said they
don’t have an auto helm the same make so I would need to buy a different one at a cost of Euro 450. “Forget it” I told him. I managed to get some powerful speedboat rubber to use to try fix in some how. I realised that this would not give me the adjustment I need, but managed to secure it tightly. I decided it will need to do and we’ll just need to see what happens ‘out there’.
By 4 pm I was so exhausted (no sleep since yesterday) I decided to go for breakfast and try to rest a little. The quiet break I had eating Irish bread and sausages was a wonderful treat. Oh and a pint of Guinness… well you have to don’t you?
I thanked Richie Allen (the sailing secretary at RCYC) for helping me with communications and signed his yacht club visitor book. He gave me a pint of Beamish Irish Stout and the Club’s chef gave me a delicious chicken sandwich to help me on my way and (forgetting my plans to have a warm shower) I waved them goodbye and rushed back to the Quest II. I set sail again at 7pm to try to catch up with my competitors.