13:33N 30:34W The only thing that works on an old boat is the skipper…. And maybe his crew?

S/V Blue Argolis
Greg and Sue Hill
Wed 7 Dec 2022 17:30

 Latitude 13 33.708’N ; 30 34.381W Wednesday 7 December 2022

If you are following our passage you will see that we are heading south west, towards Brazil…. Not that this is the plan! Our plan is to head to Barbados…. But this involves going south west first  as there is a big wind hole in the middle of the Atlantic. Although we carry 600lts of diesel when full, we need this to go in and out of port, and we also use our engine like a generator to charge the batteries and make water. Our diesel would soon disappear if we used it for propulsion! So, we plan to sail south, then west, then north, and sail around the wind hole. (Anyone interested download the ‘Windy’ app and look at the mid Atlantic section!). So we sail on, gently in between 6 and 10 knots of wind, trying to hold a south west course. Most of the time Hari does a great job keeping us on course, as he alters course when the wind changes. However, wind is a fickle beast and constantly shifts, sometimes Hari is a little slow to catch up, or maybe he’s just nodded off? so we constantly have to change and trim the sails….port side, starboard side, in, out, polled out etc.

Greg was changing the genoa (you should know this is the front one by now!) from port to starboard last night just after dark, I was snug in the bunk trying to gain a few ‘Z credits’ …. he furled the genoa in to make it easier to gybe, and blow me….. it wouldn’t come out again! This was the issue we had leaving Tenerife. A few choice words were uttered! So the skipper had a play, but in the dark, it’s never easy to fix anything, and then he and his crew spent the next 2 hours manually unfurling the genoa so at least we could get sailing again. This involved taking the sheets (the ropes that control the sails) around the forestay (the wire that holds the front of the mast up) …… herm, not just once but 10 times! First manually, then by gybing the sail and winching like mad….. By this stage there was enough wind to whip the sheets around and get slapped by them, it is also still hot into the early part of the night at least …. Fun? Well at least the full moon helped us to see what we were doing and once we had the sail out we could make way again. So the plan was keep calm, carry on, sleep and sort in the morning. 

The worry remained however we had a sail out sailing and light air’s forecast, but we couldn’t reduce the sail if the wind got up, I also spent the night, when not examining the inside of my eye lids worrying about Greg going up the mast in the Atlantic swell…. And possible associated scenarios :| Everyone knows however that you shouldn’t worry about what may never happen! So I tried my breathing exercises (Katy :) and some yoga and waited for the sun to raise. I was just watching the moon set to starboard and the sun raise to port from the cockpit at about 07.30 when someone literally pulled my leg! I shrieked! It was of course Greg (Hari hasn’t learnt that trick yet) but didn’t half scare me…… 

Needless to say in the day light we found that one of the spinnaker halyards had blocked the top  genoa car, we untangled the halyard and bingo, genoa was free….. except that the furling line was of course not set ….. the system we use to furl the sail in and out is very simple; the sail is wound around the forestay, a furling line is attached to a drum at the base of  the sail, and runs back to the cockpit. If you release the line from the cockpit, the whole sail unrolls, automatically winding the furling line on to the drum at the bottom of the sail. Pull the line back into the cockpit, it rolls off the drum rotating it and thus rolling the sail back onto the forestay. Got it? No? Have a look on YouTube? ;) 

So, our sail was out , but the the furling line was now not rolled around the drum as we had manually unwound the sail…. So we had to manually wind the furling line, yes you’ve guessed it, back on the drum. The drum is of course is attached to the sail so can’t be rotated, it’s behind a guard that had to be removed, it has the forestay through the middle so the line has to be fed around it and the line is about 14m long. We repeated the process not once but 12 times….. phew, done and fingers crossed working …. No ascent up the mast required this time….. Time for lunch! 

With a few more boat jobs ticked off the list today, eating, sleeping and living, 

there is certainly no time to get bored on board Blue Argolis….. can you imagine being onboard a boat where everything works?…. What do people do with their time? I don’t think I’d be able to carry enough books to read? ;)

Anyway, Alpha Whiskey, days run, 86nm, distance to go 1,681nm!

Yours aye

Greg and Sue xx

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