Day 14 - last line of defence

Sun 10 Dec 2006 15:46
The last entry forecast quieter times and a home run in......this is the sea we are dealing with - and that blessed genoa!  Two menacing squalls came through last night.  For the first, Wattie and I got the genoa furled and unfurled in lightish winds and the squall missed us.  2 hours later we were surrounded by squalls (they show up rather nicely on the radar at night as solid yellow patches swarming around the boat) and we had to furl the genoa in a bit more wind with the predictable results.  We fought with the hour glass twist for about 15 minutes before getting it down (with considerable difficulty) and bringing it below to rewind. Hauled it up again and it twisted before it was halfway aloft.  Another titanic battle ensued and eventually, having handed the sheet round the sail to unwind the twist, we thought we had won.

But she had the last word.  Shortly after breakfast this morning, the block at the top of the mast (holding the second genoa halyard) broke free and fell to the deck.  Once again, we had used another line to support the sail in case this happened and the genoa stayed up, but this time only held by the topping lift which originates from the other side of the mast.  It had to come down (for the last time, I fear) and we are now down to a reefed main (to allow us to sail (almost) our down wind course and the faithful jib.  We are down to 7 knots or less and Colin and I are very miserable about losing the chance to catch those last few places.  I have a feeling everyone else is relieved that we cannot set the spinnaker.  We have no halyards left aloft unless I go up the mast to re-thread the first one and I think it is unlikely that we will have the conditions to do that before we get there.

So, we are down to our last defence - the main and the jib. The wind is still dropping, we are squall proof and given how tired we are now, we are going to sit out the rest of today as we are.  Apart from these little dramas, the crew are all fine, well fed etc.  We will celebrate 2 weeks at sea at lunch today (our clocks have moved 2 hours from GMT now - we will still have a little "boat lag" as I think St Lucia is 5 hours adrift from GMT. It is quite fun setting our own time according to dawn and dusk.

The jobs list on the boat is getting a little heavy but she is basically in good shape.  One fridge has packed up now and the water maker has fused twice.  Otherwise the main systems are all functioning OK and we are on the home straight.

No photos because everything happened at night!=