Phil May and Andrea Twigg
Sat 14 Nov 2015 00:49
We have obviously been watching too much Downton Abbey in the evenings because our days since leaving Grenada have all been rather melodramatic.
Our first trip was a mere 8 miles from Prickly Bay round to St Georges. On our departure we discovered that the guy in front of us has dropped his anchor over ours, so we hauled up his chain with our anchor. That took half an hour of delicate manoeuvring to sort out. Then the clouds formed and we had 40 knots of wind to drive the rain into our faces. That stings. We didn’t bother putting up the sails.
The next day we had a 40 mile day sail to Carriacou. The weather was fine when we set off, but the clouds formed and soon we were close hauled with sails reefed, heading into a 40 knot breeze once more. This took its toll on the genoa. Our smaller genoa is designed to be reef-able, but the high stress at the luff of the sail caused a couple of panels to delaminate.
On our first day in Carriacou we tried to get the damaged jib down, to replace it with our spare, but the roller furling car at the head of the sail was stuck. I had to go up the mast and decouple the jib from the furler car so we could get it down.
On our second day in Carriacou I had to go up the mast once more, this time being lowered down the forestay, stamping and hammering on the furler car every couple of yards. The car was getting stuck at every junction of the aluminium furling extrusions. These junctions distort over time, developing a lip that interferes with the sliding of the car. (If you have this problem with the Profurl system then you might find, as we did, that running the car rapidly up and down over the lowest junction will shave off enough of the car’s plastic liner to free it up. A temporary fix, but a lot simpler than having to get a rigger in to remove the forestay.)
We had beautiful weather for the 16 mile sail from Carriacou to Union island. So nice that we had the full main deployed. Normally we keep the main halyard on the winch, but with the self-tacking jib now deployed we had the jib sheet on the winch instead. So the main clutch was holding the main sheet. Up to the point where the mainsail dropped down a couple of yards, stripping the outer braid from the halyard in the process.
Have you ever tried threading a needle where you only got half the thread through the eye? When a clutch strips the braid from a sheet, the braid bunches up, to the point where it will no longer fit through the clutch. Unlike threading a needle, you can’t just pull it out and try again. To get the mainsail down you will need to thread that stripped section through the clutch and around several other blocks beneath the hull and then up through the mast.
No problem, just run the halyard around an alternate winch (one that is well clear of the stripped section) and use it to pull the halyard in, releasing the braid from the clutch. Then cut away all the bunched braid and tape the (now slim) braid to the rope core, so it will fit through the clutch and blocks. (The alternate winch is probably not in quite the right position, so if this should cause you to make a right royal snarl up on the winch then just look at this as a fine opportunity for you to practice your rolling hitch, using a third winch to release the snarl on the second winch.)
With the mainsail down, replacing the main halyard should just be a question of attaching the new halyard to the end of the old one and pulling it all through. Unless, of course, your halyard turns around a block at the head of the mainsail and runs back up to be tied to the top of the mast. You can get the halyard through to the head of the sail but then you have to go up the mast to re-tie the knot. This is a bit of a catch 22 situation, since the only way up the mast is with yourself tied to the end of the main halyard. The only safe solution is to tie yourself to the top of the mast before untying yourself from the halyard but, skipping over the details, at one point this involved supporting myself with right arm and knees round the mast while trying to untie a bowline with my left hand.
Still nobody died in a car crash and no-one stole the silver.
No pictures of the halyard travails I am afraid, so here is a photo from the bus station in Grenada that amused us. Not sure of the distinction between Obscene Language and Public Filth. And a bit surprised that unauthorized advertisements should be five times as bad as defecating in public.