Day 7: More drama this time with the mainsail

Purple Mist
Skipper: Kate Cope
Sat 14 Jan 2023 20:35

24:41.756N 30:46.686W

Day 7: More drama this time with the mainsail

Today started like the past couple of days very calmly. It was the same wind, same sunshine, same good humour aboard. We are really getting into a rhythm and whilst the night-time wake up calls are still grim, the day-time naps are restorative so overall we are not too tired. The sun was shining and we are getting used to the somewhat feisty wind and waves.

We are well aware we are DFL = Dead Last so we are trying to improve speed. Claire and I were both hand steering today to try and surf the waves a bit more. The wind seemed to be stable 18-22kts and we had been mumbling about trying to move to just one reef in the main rather than two at least in the daylight then back to 2 at night when it’s much more squally. After all there is virtually no power from the little orange storm jib so the main is doing all the work.

During the Spinnaker incident there were a few other breakages . One was we lost the pre feeder device that helps the main slide up the mast on its bolt rope. I found one random screw on deck and no idea how this device came off but probably happened when the boom detached.

The other thing is our little storm jib won’t really hold the boat upwind so we tried to hoist more mainsail downwind. This I have done many many time before though probably not in 20kts. We don’t know whether it was this position downwind or the lack of pre feeder or just Purple Mist telling us she didn’t want to go any faster but we managed to completely tear a large section of bolt rope from the mainsail. The bolt rope is basically the part at the front of the sail that holds the main sail into the mast …without it you can not fly your mainsail.
There was a moment of utter shock and horror as we already have virtually no jib , if we lost the mainsail as well then we are going to make very very slow progress.

Anyway readers do not despair, I have a sail repair kit the size of a small bungalow and so we shrank the main to the third reef to protect what we could of it and got our thinking caps on. Interestingly still doing 6kts on 3 reefs so not a total disaster.

I managed to use Dr sails flexible epoxy to glue the bolt rope back together with the sail. We then used Clothes pegs hold it all together until the epoxy set. Then a mix of some Cuban fibre (Thanks Conrad for that) and insignia tape to wrap over it and cover the rough edges and provide extra strength .All with the wind at 20kts and the deck rolling about in big waves. Actually the repair looks pretty neat and seems pretty strong so I feel pretty chuffed with the result. We are back on 2 reefs in the main with a lot of halyard tension and so far it’s holding well. We have just had a +30kt squall go though and all still looks good . I don’t think we will be trying 1 reef again until the wind really drops off.

JPEG image