Dancing in the Moonlight!
Sat 6 Dec 2008 14:16
Dancing in the Moonlight!
The nearly green flash moment, not many clouds in the sky and hundreds of stars.
Pointing the boat westward at two planets with a high half moon just forward of our port beam, 9 to 13 knots with Big Pink pulling nicely.
With such a beautiful evening few of the crew went down below for sleep as jovial banter and star gazing in the cockpit
was the favoured activity.
Towards the end of Ben and Paul's watch the breeze was beginning to ease considerably. The mainsail was annoyingly panting back and forth with a rather loud "fwap..fwap..fwap" sound and Big Pink was becoming harder and harder to keep flying!
Remembering similar conditions on Closing Time during the Fastnet, Matt decided to ask Skip if it would be O.K. to drop the noisy main and sail under Big Pink alone.
With an O.K from Andrew (Skip), between Matt, Paul and Ben the mainsail was lowered and flaked on the boom.
Matt's first attempt at changing to a light sheet nearly ended in disaster as when Ben clipped off the original heavy sheet Big Pink began to ease out..and ease out.. and ease out! Oh bugger! There was no longer a sheet on the starboard clew at all! Big Pink flayaled out forward for a minute whilst Ben and Matt gathered and reconnected. Meanwhile Paul, with armfuls of left and right on the wheel kept the boat going in a 60 degree general direction.
Then Nick joined Matt on deck for their watch where they slowly but surely main good direction but little speed. The watch was very entertaining and best of all very quiet-so all below could get a good sleep. Towards the end of the watch the breeze had begun to build (8-11 knots). A few discussions of how it would be possible to hoist the mainsail without disturbing anyone were abandoned until Jack and Chris's watch.
Jack and Chris sat in the cockpit having a quick cuppa whilst discussing with Matt and Nick how we would get the mainsail hoisted. Like a meercat from it's burrow up popped Andrew! Then a quick plan was put into action! Skip at the helm, Chris and Nick in the cockpit playing the strings and Matt and Jack doing a merry dance on the foredeck!The simple plan was: 1) Pull snuffer down to douse Big Pink and cleat off at bow. 2) Skip, with engine on to head into wind. 3) Hoist the mainsail, bear away and rehoist Big Pink.
This is what really happened!
Snuffer, halfway down Big Pink stopped solid with Matt and Jack hanging on to the dowse line. Still Big Pink would not snuff! Looking upwards Jack noticed the dowse line had wrapped itself around the radar halfway up the mast! With loud, swift requests from both on foredeck Big Pink was stuffed and half snuffed down through the forepeak hatch!
Motoring into wind the main was then hoisted and Andrew bore away onto course.
Jack, then on his 4th trip up the mast, retrieved the snuff line from around the radar! Then with a quick untwisty, a quick re-clippy and a quick re-hoisty Big Pink was up and pulling us along again.
In the immortal words of Neil Tennant "Go West- Big Pink!"