Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Wear and Tear

December 16, 2008 3:30
coordinates 15 11.128N,046 37.446W

It is nothing if not exciting out here. The last two out of three days have been continually plagued by squalls and ever changing winds. We have a new cheer, Reach to the left, Reach to the right, Up wind, Down wind, Fight, Fight, Fight, Gooooooo Ohana Kai!
We were beginning to think the little black rain cloud was following us. If you look on radar you don't see it anywhere else.

Day 13 - The Wear: As our morning was beginning to roll along we heard an enormous snap and the unmistakable sound of line zinging through it's holds. We jumped above to assess the damage and found that a shackle had snapped in two on one of the primary blocks for the sheet on the main sail. It holds the main sail in place so without it, the boom had now swung wide to the starboard side. Without the battens in it the sail had wrapped itself around the spreader like a wet hanky. We were able to
recover the sail and much to our amazement, we didn't rip off a spreader and there were no tears or further damage to the sail. We spent the next couple of hours shifting pieces and parts around the boat managed to find a replacement and get things back in action. Voila, back on track. It was amazing to see how much wear on the metal finally just caused it to fail.

Day 14 - The Tear : Again as our morning was getting under way, Bruce had just finished the morning radio net, was brushing his teeth in hopes of a long mid day nap when he peeked up at the head sail and noticed a 6-12" tear horizontally in the upper third of the sail. We flew up top to roll in the sail. Again it happened in relatively light winds and calm seas as all our sail damage does. We decided to take advantage of the light winds and bring the sail down to see if we could repair it. Let's
just say, by the time we were done with it, it wasn't a simple 6-12" tear anymore. The fabric has grown so fragile that the tear continued on into the shape of a T or X and now likely at least a 6-12" in each direction. We haven't actually had the heart to unroll it yet and assess the damage yet. We can't say that it was unexpected. We had been carefully watching, waiting and babying the sail with possibly false hopes that it would make the crossing. The winds had since picked up and the rains
set in, so with the storm sail and the main we were still making progress. From there we have lost track of how many squalls have passed us by and from what direction. We kept moving the sails around until 2pm and were even able to take showers in the rain the down pour was so strong.

Day 15 - Oh happy day, sunshine! With light winds, we flew the spinnaker for the better part of the day. When we took it down this evening, we found a spot on the halyard where it nearly wore through. Had we not caught that one in likely another half hour we would have been fishing the spinnaker out of the water with any luck. It is a little too difficult for us to sail the spinnaker at night with these unpredictable winds and we need to find a way to address the spot causing the wear on the
halyard, so we will be forced to motor overnight. Hopefully the stronger winds will fill back in soon. We have a new neighbor tonight. s/v Gillarooo from Ireland is visible on the horizon. www.gillarooo.co.uk (I'll have to check on the spelling of that one)

There are a few silver linings to what we thought was our perpetual wet black cloud: it did decide to not rain on us during both wear and tear events, it is at least warm weather now not freezing cold rain so if one has to shower in the rain this is the place to do it, and the events happened during relatively calm and daylight hours. For all the things that could have really gone wrong, they didn't. We have been blessed.

So, here's to silver linings, Goooooooo Ohana Kai!

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