Keoma - 4 December

Mon 5 Dec 2005 13:22
Yesterday (Sunday) we opened our last treat bag:
It was another beautiful sunny day and we kept the spinnaker up until evening, when we decided to take it down.  We could see a front of heavy black clouds, including a big stack of cumulus which clearly had rain beneath it.  When we took the spinnaker down we passed it down through the main hatch.  Just at that moment, Alice and Pip appeared at the bottom of the companionway steps and said "the umpa lumpas are here to take the spinnaker through to the forepeak" - so it was a real team effort.
Later on, we put the spinnaker up again, and were getting some good speeds, until we noticed that there was a slight wobble to the steering.  Further investigation led us to think that one of the rudder bearings is slightly loose.  We thought it best, with 800 miles to go, to not overstress the rudder, and took the spinnaker down again.  The genoa went up, only to get torn along the foot in the squally conditions.  We saw lightening close by and put two reefs in the main, as we approached more heavy banks of cloud.  (Incidentally, we found Nick's hair to be a brilliant early warning device for lightning detection - around an hour before we saw it, his hair was standing completely on end - and not just his normal "bad hair" day, either.)  Then the autohelm decided to pack up, so we are currently hand steering and consulting the manual.  Just to round off the night we threw (by accident) a winch handle, a snatch block and a spectre loop, overboard.   Aaargh!