A day of highs a lows. Up at 6 am after what was probably the best sleep of the trip so far. Everyone else seemed to rise at the same time – that is those that weren’t already on watch. I wrote the previous day’s blog and reported our position which we do at 8am UTC to the RCYC. Jean in the meantime was making omelets’ for some of the other crew. The galley looked like a bomb had hit it once he had finished and the old rule was once again reinforced – you cook you clean! Jean in the kitchen is a cross between Gordon Ramsay and Mr. Bean – all fire and purpose with a lot of oop’es!
Kevin reported that his mattress was getting wet on the edges. So out came the cushion and up onto deck to dry out followed by the search for the leak. It was coming from the side panels and they needed to be unscrewed. It seemed that there was a small leak that was coming from oustside and it was patched.
The skipper then informed us that he need time on fore deck by himself with torn spinnaker and there was no need to follow him. I guess everyone needs time out in such a confined space or maybe he just thinks beter without the clutter of a million suggestions from others. He soon returned with a plan to fix the spinnaker. Two hours later, with some tape and glue it was patched. In the meantime the rest of us worked on our tans.
Our aerobics instructor Kevin did take us through our paces today. We made a video of it and I am sure it will be a hit. We can see the new craze – sailing aerobics.
It was time to get the speed and to head more north with the wind behind us. The spinnaker went up with bated breath as we waited to see if the repair job would hold. It did! We soon had the main down and the genoa out on the port side opposite to the spinnaker. We started to make good head way at 7.5 kts in lightish winds with wind directly behind us. We continued like this to early evening.
We made ostrich hamburgers for lunch and then most of us headed for an afternoon siesta. Early evening found us all on deck again.
The wind suddenly became gusty and the bag( spinnaker) started to flag (loose air and collapse). Mark tried to adjust course to compensate but soon realized we need to get it down. All hands on deck! As everyone got into position a sudden gust pulled us strongly to port and we veered of strongly everyone holding on for dear life. Once it had calmed down again for a moment, we tried again and then we were hit again by a gust. There was sudden vicious jolt as we veered off to the left and we thought something had snapped. Looking around at first all seemed to be fine then we saw the issue – the up haul (the rope that pulls and holds the sail to the top of the mast) on the spinnaker had pulled right through its cam (lock down) from the pressure of the wind in the sail. It had actually come through with such force that it had melted the sheet(rope). Although the spinnaker was trailing the water now all was not lost yet. We need to bring the spinnaker back up to its proper position as soon as possible and then bring it down. It continued to gust and Hot Ice continued to fight the constant tugs. The thing that had saved the spinnaker up haul from being completely pulled through and the spinnaker from landing in the water was the fact the sheet had got tangled and bunched around the cam preventing it from sliding further. We now needed to release this bunch before we could pull her up again. Up to this point the patch and the spinnaker were holding firm. This did not last long someone released the lock to try and clear the bunch without thinking of the consequences. T the spinnaker pulled itself free and was partly in the water before we managed to stop the fall. The pressure on the spinnaker was intense and it started to rip. Strangely enough not on the repaired section. Mike throughout the ordeal was standing on deck holding the large spinnaker pole like a Scotsman about to toss the caber – fixed on one end to the mast but the other end free to reek havoc on deck should Mike have let it loose. By now we were frantically trying to raise it out of the water and by the time that was done it was completely ripped and unrepairable. It was finally brought on board and the sails set. For the next half an hour there was little said. The disappointment in our own ability as a crew to respond with the right speed, precision and understanding. For the skipper, I think it was the fact that he should not have relied on us as much and brought down the spinnaker earlier. Easy to say in hind sight but to have a crystal ball would make this challenge easy and that’s not why we are here.
We are still making good time lets hope it does not make a difference.
Mike is becoming quite the sailor for someone that spent the first four days suffering with sea sickness and was quitting his dream of owning a yacht. He has been quick to remember how things work and today was climbing high up on the boom just like veteran. He is still battling with the sea sickness if he goes below other than to sleep. He is trying to swop his turn to cook with doing one of my shifts. I think he just cant cook!
We had an albatross circling Holt Ice today looking at our fishing lures. What a magestic bird, with such a large wingspan it glides on the wind as if it owns it. It eventually flew off into distance.
I am replacing Kevin on watch at 12pm to 2pm tonight. Kevin spends his shift listen to music on his IPod. He tells me it is therapeutic and good for the soul.
Good night till tomorrow….