13. Maintenance jobs well done

Telefonica Black
Lance Shepherd
Fri 31 Jan 2020 05:44
12:46.886N 051:19.377W - Distance to Antigua: 750nm - ETA: roughly  03 Feb
Those of you who follow our tracker closely might have noticed that we have not been doing the same speeds as you probably have gotten used to.
One of the things you have to continuously be aware of is the wear and tear of all material on the boat during a crossing like this. That is why we do checks every day of the sails, the halyards (lines that keep the sails up) and any other place where chafe might occur.
Today we planned to hoist the A7 when we noticed some chafe on the leach (back end of the sail) and some small holes throughout the cloth. We decided to hoist the J4 (small jib) instead for the time being and take our time doing some repairs.
With hoisting the J4 our speed dropped to an average of 7 knots but during a trip of this distance a little loss in time means nothing if it means you keep your material in one piece. Our sewing team (Alex and David) did an awesome job fixing the leach and the sticker department (Claire, Marie and Pierre) seemed to have found every area that needed attention. All in all it took a little bit longer than expected because we needed to take regular breaks to seek the shade for a minute and escape the heat. Yes, temperatures have risen and it is getting really hot during the day.
That reminds me that I still owe you a story (and introduction) of David (IRL). David is part of the crew and joined Telefonica Black in Gibraltar. He left his job as a retail manager of tools in November 2019 to fulfill his dream and make a living with sailing. He just passed his Yachtmaster Offshore and is planning to do his Cruising Instructor course in February. After passing that course he can teach people up to Day skipper level.
He chose Telefonica Black to build miles and 'obviously because it is an amazing boat' so he says.
David arrived in Gibraltar with a beard he had been wearing for over 10 years and nobody really knows what happened (maybe he was inspired by Alex his haircut??) but 2 days ago he suddenly decided it was time to say goodbye to his beard. It might also be that he got fed up with Marie and myself telling him 'you are next' after Alex his heroism..
Anyway, David is now 'beardless Dave' and he genuinely looks awesome. We are even making jokes that he can apply on a super yacht now..
David his plans upon arrival on Antigua is to find a job on a boat with 10 Swedish cocktail waitresses.. Oh no, wait. He has to fly back to Ireland and do his instructor course in the Solent in the middle of the winter. We wish him the best of luck while most of us are darting around the Caribbean in just shorts and T-shirts..
At around 3 pm the A7 was ready to go and even though exhausted, we all enjoyed watching the speed go up to numbers we are more used to. The joy was short lived however, due to a wind increase we had to switch yet again to the J4 and we decided that headsail with 2 reefs in the main will stay during the night. Tomorrow morning we will assess the wind again and make (sail) plans for the day. Now it is time to sleep for those off-watch.
Safety first.