The days begin to merge one into another. Progress is slow. We scan our weather grib files for hope, yet we know that the forecasts are unreliable. Never mind, what’s the hurry? But it feels good to be going along nicely again and it’s happening now. Trade winds proper! We are sailing just south of due West, more or less on course for our destination, in 17 Knots of wind from the SE. That’s more like it. This is what they said in the brochure!
A moment of inattention can result in all sorts of mess. We have a small hatch over the stove in the galley which is normally open, especially if cooking. The jib flaps in the wind, the sheet gets caught around the hatch handle and then snaps tight. Result: handle disappears and we are left with a big hole in the hatch. Oh dear. Next morning, Bungles and Lucy set to work and swapped the broken hatch cover with the one in their bathroom (heads). So if it rains, and it looks like it might, then it’ll rain in the heads, not in the galley, Meanwhile the shore team A (Barney) is on the case to get a new hatch sent to us as soon as possible. We keep a lot of spares on board but this isn’t one of them! Here it is, with duct tape over the hole.
One day later, I’m on the late night watch. As dawn breaks I look and see that the topping lift is hanging slack from the end of the boom, so I pull on the line, but it runs free with no effect. Oh sh*t. It’s broken.
Chafed through during the night on the end of one of the battens. So I look up the mast to see where is the rest of it. Nothing there. Oh double sh*t. It’s fallen into the mast. This is a problem that we need to fix. First we need to remove the remains of the line, then rig a new one from the top of the mast. So I pull down the line at the bottom of the mast and out it comes, but then it sticks. Jammed. Oh triple sh*t. Now we have to find a way to get it unjammed. Nothing for it, but up the mast to where the line emerges. This is about one third of the way up. Not much, you may say, but you try it.
First Lucy had a go:
Looks easy? Just remember that we are at sea and sailing. There is a swell coming through and we are swaying about. Hold on tight! In spite of all these valiant efforts, the rope remained jammed, both pulling up and down.
Enough. We tried again this morning with a new approach, but still no success. Then this evening, we furled the genoa and released the halyard. Bingo! Out came the line. It must have been tucked behind the halyard where it emerges from the mast. Great relief, but that still leaves us without our topping lift until we are able to climb to the top of the mast and reeve a new one. That will have to wait for the right, calm conditions. For now, we are happy at least to have got out the old line. Phew.