At Sea-Heading for the Falklands

Lars Alfredson
Fri 18 Nov 2011 14:47
Pos 49:35S 61:42W

18112011 At Sea - Heading for the Falklands

During the night both wind and seas increase and by the time I relieve Thomas its blowing hard and winds have increased to 38kts gusting to 45Kts with steep 3 metres walls of water that bear down on us knocking off course and making the Auto Pilot work overtime.

The wind increases and is now gusting 50kts when Lars unable to hang onto his bunk comes up. We decide to put in a second reef and secure the preventer. It's difficult work on a heaving deck and screaming wind with the threat of being washed overboard as the bow ploughs into the seas. Working by headlight and decklights Lars has his work cut out, at least I'm in the cockpit working the mainsheet winch and ducking the spray. All done he returns to bed.

At 0200 Peter relieves me and I go down to my bunk when suddenly I fell the boat lurch and hear and almighty bang as the boat jibes sending the boom crashing over and causing it to heal precariously.

Rushing on deck Peter points out we no longer have a jibe preventer which appears to have snapped I reset the autopilot and we're back on course Lars also arrives on deck and we try to analyse the cause of the problem which we put down to Auto Pilot shutdown after being overwhelmed by a large swell or and intermittent fault which has been noted before.

The situation stabalised we leave Peter to it but there's not much sleep to be had trying to hang on the the bucking bronco that is my bunk.

0800 and I relieve Thomas who had slept through the whole episode! The morning progresses revealing the full extent of the damage done during the night. When the boom had jibbed it hit the babystay that is used and an additional support for the mast and had smashed it's jammer cleat. The good news is that had probably dampened the swing of the boom, the scars of which can be seen in the black marks on the boom and sailcover preventing it ripping it out of the mast.

Closer inspection revealed that the preventer had also snapped where is had been tied onto the boom, but more seriously the main sheet that controls the boom had sheared the pin in one of the blocks which should have meant we lost all control of the boom with dire consequences.

Surprisingly the roller minus pin had jammed in the next sheave in the system and saved the day. Had we known all this before, bouncing bunks could have been the least of our worries. A morning of repairs and as the wind drops we shake out the second reef to keep our speed up as we continue, bouncing, on our way.

Bob the Blog at Noon