1-12-07 Ships log

Rebel T
Tim Walsh
Sat 1 Dec 2007 16:22
Dear readers,

It is Saturday afternoon on board the good ship Rebel, "well Skipper", I
hear you say, "Tell us about last night"
"Last Night" I say, "I'll tell you about last night" I say. "It was a
bastard" I say.....

All was well...a little boisterous and we had been experiencing some squalls
and slight rain, the sky looked unpleasent, a bit like a Bulldog chewing a

We had had a good days run and so decided to drop Maximus at dusk and unfurl
the genniker. Even with the genniker up, we had plenty of speed, about 8knts
with the odd surge if wind and wave co-incided. Again it was our watch,
(10pm-2am) with rain spots and gusts to 28/29knts.
Skipper being who he is decided to drop the genniker in favour of the
working foresail, the genoa. I had just uttered my wish and Jeff and Ant
taken up position, when an almighty gust came through at 35knts.
Ant on the port sheet immediately as yelled at, shot across to the starb'd
side to help Jeff haul for all his worth on the genniker furling line.
Generally one person can attend this line, but not in these conditions. It
was because of the savage nature of the gust I had shouted across to Ant,
"Just let it fly, forget it, help Jeff".
With Jeff and Ant screaming at the job we got it in, but...All sailors will
know the ugly sight of a fully furled sail that has wound in so tight that
all the line is pulled off the drum but 4ft of sail is still flying,
flogging itself to destruction as you watch. When the sail is like this
there is not much you can do, I couldn't leave it, it wouldn't last 10
minutes and we don't have a spare. It is an important sail, I could have
tried to get it down but the we would slow from 9knts to 5knts and the
apparent wind would increase ratcheting up the whole nightmare.
I decided to unfurl it again, keep the speed and furl at the first lull. and
so we did, next lull, about 25knts, we furled again. same result, the bloody
thing still flogging with a deafening noise.

OK...Plan "B". Back to drop the sail, not easy when it is flogging so madly
with 2 40ft sheets of 14mm whipping about wildly. I once saw the top of a
mans finger smashed right off when, in ignorance, he tried to grab such a
So.."forget the sheets , let the flog, STAY AWAY FROM THEM. I will drop the
sail from the mast, you two will go right to the forestay and pull the
furled sail down"
You had to be there, or have been somewhere as nasty at night before, to
understand what a big order that was.
We set about the thing, It was tearing rain, dark and the sea was 3mtres or
so. In short very ugly and approaching dangerous.( A number of other boats
had lost sails in theses conditions we were to find out later that night).
And then, a split second after I eased the halyard a couple of metres, the
wind went wild. It touched 40knts for a few seconds then down to a mere
38knts.The sail wrapped around itself, creating 2 big bags that were flying
against the furled genoa. Bastard, Bastard, Barstard. How the boys got it
down I don't know, but they did.

It took 15 minutes to get it dead, down on the deck. The boat was rolling it
guts about as we had gone beam on to the seas. The autopilot was on, but
without forward motion enough, it couldn't cope. We were all soaked. We
stuffed the sail in the deck locker and came aft to unfurl the genoa to 1st
reef. The boat responded and we shot away at about 9knts. The apparent wind
eased and we took stock of the situation.

All crew safe, we tidied up and sat in the cockpit. There followed a fit of
giggles from Anthony and myself, plenty of "The Dirty, Dirty Bastard" from
Katherine Tate Show, Lots of "Northern Hardman" accents and sheer relief as
the adrenaline soaked into our clothes at the same rate as sweat and rain.

Definitely the worst night so far. For the rest of the night we sailed under
reefed genoa only. At Dawn we had fortifying porridge and set about
unrolling the sail and re-rolling it up again.
I won't go into detail, but once a sail is removed from a furler, then the
line never fits again. We had the sail up 3 times before it was right. It
took 3 hrs.

Since "The Incident" the wind had been stronger, too strong for Maximus. We
couldn't efficiently use the furling sails because the Rhum Line course was
exactly downwind. Furling sails jibe from side to side in rough seas unless
yo can "get a slant" on the wind. The problem was that this kept happening
and was/is taking us too far North or South of our route.

We had another option and with a little trepidation, (but utter confidence
in front of the men!) I said " OK, Fly Picasso!" Picasso is a smaller
version of Maximus and is 78sqm rather than Maximus 115sqm.
Up went Picasso. I held my breathe but actually all seemed OK.

We sailed at about 9knts in the exact direction of St Lucia! when the breeze
came through at over 20knts we surfed down the waves at 14knts!! a bit much
really, so we are still at it, the fastest has been 15.7 but only once and
for 10seconds or so, but we have to hand steer and concentrate. But "Golly"
it's exciting!!.
We will drop it at dusk and go to genniker, forecaster says to head a little
South as we are to get light winds in a day or so and the further South the
better the prospect of decent wind. That suits us fine as the genniker
forces us to to that anyway!.

Beyond the above, we have done a water stock take and all seems well, a food
stock take and we seem a little light so we are being deliberate about
cooking and eating perishables instead of treats, no tinned or vacuum meat
can be eaten until all fresh and frozn is gone.
It would not be clever to throw away food that could have been eaten.
Smaller portions, no hardship really.

I have some pics and will sort them now.

I may blog later, but, "night time is not the right time" for relaxing it

Hello! to all the staff at the Moscow Marriott who I know are reading these

"English Breakfast Tea with cold milk Please!

OK got to go. Mr T Walsh. XXXXX