Alboran Sea

Flyer of Lorne
Dave Sturrock
Thu 11 Jun 2009 20:35
37:30.124N 08:05.237E

Tuesday 26 May, Days Run 158NM

Wednesday 27 May, Days Run 158 NM, VMG 102NM

Thursesday 28 May, Days Run  108NM

Following another steady night's progress the breeze began to go light and with an easterly gale forecast for the region we started thge engine at 10:00hrs to make ground to the East as fast as possible. We cleared to the South of the Isle of Alboran and continued about 50Nm off the Moroccan coast. At 17:00 the forecast NE breeze filled in and we stopped the engine and unfurled the NO 1 genoa once again to go close hauled.

Conveniently at 22:00hrs the webbing strap at the head of the genoa failed having been repaied crossing the Atlantic already. As it was just still light we were able to hoist the self tacker even although the genny halyard and top swivel had stuck at the top of the foil. We used a spare halyard and the sail just fitted into the space below the furling swivel.

At 08:30 the next morning with a rising F4-5 Nl'y breeze the self tacker sheet parted and dissappeared back into the mast. We rigged another genoa sheet but within the hour the webbing strap at the tack of the sail parted and the entire luff of the sail came apart leaving about  1 inch of sailcloth protruding from the foil. This had happened as I was on deck recovering the NO 1 genoa which had been lashed to the guardrail overnight but was now coming adrift. Not a pleasant feeling watching one of your favourite sails unzip beforev your eyes. it was quite a job to recover as there was not much to get hold of at the luff. Once the remnants were down we had no option but to motor sail with a reefed main into the F6 NE wind.

We had noticed a lot more bilge water than normal sloshing over the cabin floor when we had been heeled and Zoe gave me a real scare by shouting and pointing a fire extinguisher at the switch panel just after we had started motoring. We cut the engine as there was a horrible smell of electrical burning and visible signs of smoke. We checked evrything out and it looked like SW had reached the charging circuits, after a period to allow thes eto dry out we started the engine and luckily were able to continue. We hand bailed the bilge and counted 50 gallons before we reduced to normal, a lot of water for a normally dry boat!

Wednesday was spent in this mode as we tacked along the coast of Algeria and passed within 5 NM offshore of the capital. Strong feeling of deja vu here as Richard and myself had spent a full day beating to Westwards very near this spot last November on route to the ARC!

By nightfall the wind had eased although there was still a big lumpy sea running and we continued to make slow progress to the East.

By Thursday morning we had calm conditions and so had to continue with the motor while repairing things like the webbing strap at the head of the genoa. This was a really tricky job as there was not much to work with and I broke 1 needle just trying to stitch through the sail. I added some fresh webbing and found the strongest repair was to form a makeshift whipping or seizing round the whole strap to give it some strength.

At least it was warm and sunny once again despite a lengthening fault list.