Clockwise from above; Despite singlehanding, Jeff prepares and enjoys extravagant meals. Just kidding. 'Sailors Run' as seen somewhere in her many travels. Dolphins are his only friends at sea. Jeff and his beloved Debbie. Bahia Caraques, Ecuador. 'Sailors Run' at the start of a Baja Ha-Ha.
should have stayed in La Cruz until the crappy weather to the south had blown away, and used the time to do some short shakedown sails. My hindsight is astonishingly clear! — wayne 11/15/2015 Sailors Run — Baba 40 Ketch Jeff Hartjoy Non-Stop Solo Circumnavigation (Longbranch, WA) One of the things you'd prefer not to happen when you're 69 years old and attempting to sail solo around the world non-stop via the southern capes is have your boat sink from under you. After all, the water is cold and help is not close at hand. However, that's the possibility that Jeff Hartjoy faced just two weeks after departing Bahia Caraquez, Ecuador. Having enjoyed "some of the best sailing days of my life" after starting his epic adventure in October, one day
Jeff charged the boat's batteries for 20 minutes with the inboard diesel and the transmission in neutral. After shutting down the engine he but sensed a "strange vibration". He says that he could hear something — the prop shaft? — "spinning and rubbing". But it couldn't be the prop shaft because he'd locked the transmission in reverse. Yet what else was there down there to crease the noise and vibration? "Holy shit!" was Jeff's reaction when he opened up the lazarette to gain visual access to the transmission area of the bilge and discovered that the prop shaft had come free from the coupler that connects it to the transmission. Because Sailors Run was moving along at seven knots, the unattached prop shaft was wobbling around madly trying to work it's way out of
the boat. The only thing that prevented it from coming out of the boat is that it was bumping against the rudder. As there was the potential for both water to flood into the boat via the hole for the shaft, and for the rudder to get jammed causing the boat to lose steering, it was a very serious situation. Fortunately Jeff is a resourceful guy with 75,000 ocean miles to his credit, so he didn't freak out and came up with a solution. It was a very easy fix, in that all he had to do was hang upside down in the bilge for five hours while underway. He started by lashing down the shaft to keep it from spinning. Second, he activated the boat's high capacity bilge pump. Third, he doused the genoa and staysail, and hove-to under main and mizzen. Then came the hard parts. "I worked feverishly to separate the coupling, hoping to find the nut that had come off the end and the key that locks the shaft to the coupling," Jeff recalls. He found the nut, but the key had slipped into the flooding bilge. Miraculously, he was eventually able to retrieve it after fishing around with a magnet. Just when things were looking up, he discovered that he didn't have the correct socket to secure the big nut. The best he could do was tighten the nut by hand. All he has to do now is hope that the nut won't work off during the next couple of months while he sails around the bottom of the world in the rough Southern Ocean. So what's it been like for Jeff on the way to Cape Horn? On Day 10, for example, he reported 15 to 25 knot winds out of the southeast with 6 to 9 foot swells. Conditions were good enough for him to reel off 176 miles, the third best 24-hour run ever for the much-travelled Sailors Run. The air temperature was between 72° and 76°, with squalls 50% of the time. Cape Horn will be the ﬁrst of the ﬁve southern capes that Jeff will have to round in order to achieve his goals. It's the southernmost. SOUTH AMERICA TOURISM
ALL PHOTOS COURTESY SAILORS RUN
The December 2015 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.