DAY 6 – 9 December 2006, Saturday
The day started well from noon. The sun came out and I have some pink bits. I made a cake and made the baggywrinkle for the other shroud. I put my reel antennae up one of the shrouds for better reception for the radio. It comes in through the window and I can close the window on it. I have put it on the kitchen side, opposite to all the electronics just in case it caused a leak from the window.
I read my book and sunbathed. I have a new playlist on my MP3 player. Last time I put the artists in order and picked one track from each, this time I put them all in alphabetical order by track title and have all the As, as good a mixture as any. I am not sure how Sitting on the Dock of the Bay got in there, it must have a space at the front. The wind and the waves continued to lessen and it began to feel more like a holiday than a route march.
Listened to the radio for progess on the other boats and all seem to be jogging along nicely, nothing notable. I am now very near the New York to Cape of Good Hope shipping lane, but have not seen anything. I made sure I kept on course all night just in case. Everything is charged up that needs to be and there is enough power for the lights.
At 3 am I was going to mend the genoa. I got dressed, put on my head torch and threaded the needle. I was about to put on my harness when I came to what little sense I had and abandoned the idea until it was light.
This morning I was still 2 miles N of my course, but it the wind actually went NE, rather than E this would correct itself.
It was Sunday and breakfast was to be served in the formal dining room, this meant a shower and a T shirt. I boiled some water but lost half of it, which was annoying; it might be calmer, but nothing actually stays still. Breakfast was 4 warm scotch pancakes with melting butter and warm raspberry seedless jam and a cup of tea. Very civilised and at 10 all seemed to be good.
The sun was not out yet, but the wind was down to 8 knots. The sea was a beautiful rich royal blue and hardly a white crest in sight. Now would be as good a time as any to repair the genoa. The sail was out full and I just had to let it down a little so that I could reach. OK a bit more so that I could sit down and do it. It would have been less of a fight if I had taken the sail down, but then I would have had to get it back up. Feeding the sail up the track at the forestay and pulling the halyard at the mast was going to be difficult, so the less I took it down the better. The small break at the top of one row of stitching had developed into both rows for over a foot. I just did the outside row, I sewed the zigs, the other half of the stiches, the zags, would have to wait. I have only done zig and zag where it is easy to reach. That took long enough and my fingers were aching so if I put the sail back up now I could always take it down again later to do some more.
The first bit was easy, just swing on the halyard and body weight will make the sail go up. I got to within a metre and took the rope to the main winch, this got totally messed up and I took the rope to the genoa winch. I have no idea how the rope managed to get so jammed, but it did. I have a small set of jaws on the mast for the rope and got it in there while I unfouled the rope from the winch. No chance, now I couldn t move the rope from either direction. Worst case scenario is leave it, the sail was up, but the winch was out of action. I had tried logic, brute force and screwdrivers, but the only thing left was to dismantle the winch and slide the rope up. This actually worked and I got the rope off and secured the halyard, now to put my winch back together. I had been very good and put all the bits in a container and just when I thought I had finished I found a 6th sneaky spring under a screwdriver. Undo the winch, put the spring in and do it up again. Nothing to it really, if I hadn t said, then nobody would be any the wiser.
It was now noon. The wind is E, 8 – 12 knots. I have tacked to correct the XTE which was up to 3 miles and to check I have put the winch back together properly. Only managed 90 nm yesterday, about 1400 to go.