Equipment problems

Phil May and Andrea Twigg
Sun 3 Jun 2012 05:59
We had some problems with equipment on the way down to Tonga. 
For the last day of the trip down to Niue we had good winds of around 25 knots on the beam (from the side of the boat) and that is a wind direction that suits Anastasia.  We had full mainsail and gennaker and were cruising along at about 10 knots when a gust of wind blew a hole in the middle of the gennaker.  That meant we had to finish the leg with our blade jib, which is not really the right sail for a beam reach.
In addition to this the screen of the chart plotter by the helm station went gradually dimmer until finally it was completely blank.  We have a plotter in the cabin but it is inconvenient to have to have someone calling out where the reefs are.  We may not be able to get the plotter fixed until Australia.
We had some good wind on the leg from Niue to Tonga.  This time it was behind the beam, a broad reach, so we could use the asymmetric spinnaker.  Unfortunately the wind gradually came around until it was on the beam.  We would have switched to the gennaker if it hadn't got a big hole in it, so instead we had to pull the spinnaker in tight to keep using it.  A gust of wind came along and the top ripped off the spinnaker.  Back to the blade jib again.    
Now we don't have much in the way of downwind sails left.  We have two parasailors, so we can go dead downwind, and we have the blade jib so we can go upwind.  The trip to Fiji (and on to Australia if we can't get the sails repaired) might just end up being a series of big zigzags as we switch between downwind and crosswind to make use of the two headsails we have left.
I have ordered some new sails from a sailmaker in Australia.