Running Repairs

Fri 25 Nov 2005 12:13
Title: Message
DAY 5 - Thu 24/11/05 - Mid Day Position 25.30N 23.50W
Sleep deprivation has been used in some corners of the World as a means of torture - and what a tortuous night it was for everyone.
With no wind the boat just lolled around, rolling and rocking in a random fashion, very unlike the comforting motion of being heeled over, powering through the waves.
Strange noises had also stopped us sleeping - the rigging had not been happy with no wind to fill it's appetite. We'd crawled all over the mast with torches, trying to assertain the source, but with not much joy.
It is very unusual for Tollers to pay attention to anything so early in the morning, so even more suprising when he enquired if we were experimenting with a new kind of radio aerial.
He pointed out that there was a 12 foot rod hanging perilously out of the main sail, about to drop off the boat, and be lost in 4 km depth of water.
The crew moved quickly to secure the rod - it was one of the batons or ribs that helps keep the shape of the sail like an aircraft wing*.
*[Sailing uses the same same science to move forward as a plane does to stay in the air - just like a wing on it's side - for more information you may with to read "Fluid Dynamics and Octopesal Bodies" by Professor W. Vindy.]
The breaking daylight now shed light on further problems - and answered some of the previous nights questions...
We had a big tear in the main sail. One of the cars which hold the baton and sail to the mast had been smashed off, and further to the baton we had rescued, we had lost another overboard in the night.
Whether it had been the previous storm, or the following calm, the rigging had taken a battering and we were in poor shape.
What happened next could only be compared to scenes reminiscent of the "A-Team".
Sails came down, tool boxes came out.
While Ron sewed the sails, the rest of the team went about the other repairs, having to make from scratch parts for which there were no spares - one even being cut and drilled from a plastic chopping board!
Bailey broke briefly from the open air workshop, to make a delicious tomato and pepper soup for lunch - all from fresh ingredients - no tins in sight.
We started to put the boat back together, everyone working well as a team, when Charlie, up the mast, saw the first signs of a wind break in the water far away. With perfect timing the wind filled our sails and we were flying again.
As the crew tidied up, a shout went out...
We were suddenly surrounded by 20 to 30 dolphins, all swimming along with us. As our boat jumped out of the waves, so did the dolphins, in almost a choreographed dance - they were beautiful.
They stayed with us for about 10 minutes, playing, and almost showing off in front of the bow of our boat. Then, as quickly as they appeared, they turned and headed off into the ocean - one briefly pausing as if to say goodbye.
What a great reward for a hard days work.
Simon russled up a great curry for tea, and after domestic chores, it was into the night watches. With 9 knots of boat speed, and a heading of 254 degrees, spirits were high.