Day five has been all about breaking things. I slumped in to bed in the early hours after a lengthy night watch surrounded by foreboding looking storm clouds and fell asleep immediately. The much needed rest was short lived, however, as I was rudely awoken by the flogging of sails and demented shouts which sounded unmistakeably like a group of Scandinavians trying to deal with a nasty problem.
On deck, things weren’t looking too good; in trying to gybe the Genoa and staysail across in opposite directions, a nasty tangle had left the Genoa partially furled and hopelessly jammed in a tourniquet of its own sheets. It was clearly going to flog itself to bits quite rapidly. Memories of a deeply incompetent sailing instructor I once worked with who tried to deal with a similar problem by attacking the sail with a knife and attempting to slice it off at the luff came flooding back. Thankfully, sanity prevailed and aided by this example of what not to do, we managed to unwind the sheets and deal with the problem. Our delight at this success was short lived, as an inspection of the staysail, which had been dropped during this chaos, revealed that the sail had split where the piston hanks are attached to the Bolt Rope. This had happened in four places. We removed it and replaced it with the Storm Jib, or Storm Fock if you are Norwegian or Swedish. As we battled to attach the new sail, a huge wave reared up and we clung on tight (clipped on with lifelines aswell, I hasten to add for the benefit of my parents). As we watched the monster pass, there was a muffled roar from down below where Steinar was steadfastly preparing our lunch. Further investigation revealed that he had spilt about a litre of olive oil over himself and the floor. This was a shame as he had made a magnificent breakfast, but since then he has been mopping oil and sewing up the Staysail.
Since then, the generator has packed up and the GPS is hinting darkly that we are heading for the North Pole. Thankfully, the boat is flying before a 30 knot breeze. Skipping between feathery whitecaps on her way to St Lucia.
1: From the start in Las Palmas 27 November
2: One of the other ARC participants
3. Richard at the pantry
4: Carl prepairing dinner
5: Example of damage of sail today