Riding a wild horse

Lars Alfredson
Tue 3 Oct 2017 17:25
POS 41:18.0N 126:05.0W

Our 750nm ride towards San Francisco was eventful.  Started on a SE light wind that drove us out into the Pacific Ocean in search of the more favorable westerly winds. 

Indeed we found them.  After a wild wind shift and a clumsy tack we headed south to San Francisco.  

NW winds reined over the sea and steadily increased to 25 to 30kts with gusts up to 50kts.  Waves were building up.  It became wild, like riding a bucking bronco.  Bruises everywhere. 

Attus was working hard.  We are on first night watch scheme, when we hear a loud bang and rock on our bunks.  Stuff flies around and a request for hands on deck is issued.  Single hand Dal is trying to understand what happened and get his bearings.  Alarms go on and pilot issues a low current signal. The situation turns dramatic for a moment.  Crew getting ready and into the foul weather gear.  

Quick assessment realizes we have jibed, broke a block, exploded the preventer lines and had no control on the main sheet.  

Mr Yanmar on to recover control and drive and avoid another jibe. Quick check into the engine room and we realize that a mechanical failure occurred to Attus.  The hydraulic rod became physically disconnected from the rudder.  

Immediately Ottos is activated.  Grandpa is put to work and performs very well at these rough seas and wild pacific waves.  

We drop the main and repair block and sheet.  To much wind. It’s past midnight now, pitch dark and now blowing way past 40kts.  Main stays down - it was already at #3 reef.  Genoa 2 reefed at 50% and we still sailing at 10kts of speed, with surges to 12+ kts. A real sleigh ride! :-)

Calm recovered we relax with an anchordramm before heading back to our bunks. 

All is well and we are flying towards San Francisco.  The main was never to be hoisted again. We were doing well just with the genoa and the seas continues wild.  3 days on a wild-horse best describes this adventure.  

Great crew, great boat and captain and great weather with WIND for sailors. 

And WE like it.  

PS. Attus and Ottos are the two Autohelm brothers. 





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