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Date: 07 Jan 2011 12:13:00
Title: Atlantic Crossing - Sail Fixing

07:01.11, 14:19.27N 46:49.40W
 
We did a record 185 miles in 24 hours yesterday, since there has been good winds we have been ensuring to keep the boat down to hull speed and not go faster than this over past few days so had 2 reefs in each sail - and still did 185 miles.  Go Stargazer.
 
We had some fun yestereday with the mainsail, at the very top of the sail it is attached by some metal sliders that hook into the mast, then below this it has plastic sliders at regular intervals to hold it onto the mast.  Sitting gazing up yesterday noticed that the metal sliders at the very top were no longer attached to the sail, we had seen that the webbing holding them on was showing a bit of wear in the Verde Islands and we shored it up with some cord as well - but it had all gone through.  It is a 17 year old sail - we weren't going to use our new one for this bit of the trip.  Wondered if we would be able to get the sliders back down the mast without having to go up and get them - really didn't want to go up the mast in 23 knot winds and choppy seas out here it wouldn't be any fun.  Luckily they slid down as we took the sail down and Adam was able to use a couple of stainless shackles to attach the sail top back onto them so we managed to sort it in about 20 mins.
 
We were quite lucky though as the plastic sliders below these ones arn't really up to the job of holding the sail with the metail sliders gone - if we hadn't noticed then we could have heard pop. . .  pop. . . . . pop. . . . . pop. . . pop as they broke one at a time - then we would have 12 metres of mainsail flapping about to try and deal with.  It would be pretty difficult trying to change main sails out here so hoping the sail lasts.
 
After 3 days of really pretty choppy and steep seas (and hence our obsession with waves) the sea did calm down yesterday afternoon to a more gentle rolling sea.  Stargazer does ride the seas very well and when you look at the waves it is amazing how smooth a ride we get - but it is still nice to have a slightly calmer sea as previously every so often a wave would come from a completely different angle and hit the side of the boat - waking up anyone who was sleeping, and sometimes chucking water into the cockpit.  We have both had really good sleeps last night with the only wave noises being swoosh, swoosh, swoosh which is much more civilised.  In fact - both of us managed to turn the alarm off and go back to sleep when we were supposed to get up for watch so both of us had to be collected by the other one and told to get up.
 
Dawn came this morning with gloomy skies and squalls visible to the south of us - we just got caught by one of these, it was quite mild so only 25 knot winds for 5 mins or so but Adam is soaked by the sudden downpour (I hid inside!) at least it has washed the decks and spray cover down as the downwind deck that doesn't get splashed was covered in dust still from Cape Verde, Adam didn't need a wash but he got one anyway.
 
Only one ship seen in the last 2 days and no yachts heard, but we did pass the half way mark the other day.  Hurray.

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