Log 3 Down Wind Dramas. 13.15.85N 66.04.34W

David Batten
Mon 11 Jan 2016 18:24
Monday 11 Jan 2016.  After petty much motoring all the first night, we had enough wind at 07.00 yesterday morning to pole out the genoa and enjoy drama no. 1.  As we were unrolling the genoa with the sheet, i.e. now the guy through the end of the pole, there was a big bang as the mast end of the pole detached itself from the mast but pulling out the screws holding the goose neck fitting to the plate on  the traveller.   We are not entirely sure why this happened, but the pole was promptly taken down and we went back to slow progress under mainsail alone, while we set up a different sort of fixing to the plate, involving a cargo strap and some dyneema.  This was successful enough to carry the poled out genoa until the wind became very variable during the night with anything from SE to ENE and steering became too challenging to keep the jury rigged attachment on the mast without high risk of further damage.  We made rather slow progress under main alone with the staysail sheeted in to minimise rolling, but we would rather keep the goose winging for the daylight when steering is much easier and the risk of putting excess strain on attachment much less.
At about 7.00 this morning, we gybed and set up a new attachment for carrying the pole on the starboard side and set up for drama no. 2.  As we were winching out the again, the load on the winch suddenly increased and there was another bang as the guy flew out of the turning block leading it to the cockpit winch.  Luckily only the block was damaged and this was quickly replaced by a spare and the genoa set on the starboard side, pushing our speed up towards a consistent 7 knots.  Definitely a lesson to be learned about not just looking forward during winching with an electronic winch and not to continue winching as the winch gives its “I’ve got a very big load here” noise, regardless of whether there is an obvious reason or not.
So now we are running on the starboard gybe, with the wind being a little unkind and settling more on ESE than the E which what we had at the start of the exercise.   As we are to port of our course at the moment and with the current making this leading tack, we will continue on this gybe and hope for a bit of a northerly that might or might not materialise.
Now the sun is shinning, the sea is blue and there are lots of flying fish and the odd bird keeping us company.  There are no other boats in sight, but from today’s roll call and position reporting on the SSB, there are several boats not that far away.  The Ship’s Boy is now suffering from fish envy after hearing the roll call and our line has been put out.  Not sure whether we really want to catch something, as the Ship’s Boy is down below reading and none of the rest of us has ever caught anything bigger than a mackerel,  so we are quite nervous about how we are going to deal with it, plus the Skipper hates having blood and scales on the deck and got quite agitated when we caught a small fish off Guadeloupe 2 years ago!