Fri 16 May 2008 20:38
After the evening of our electrical storm, all aboard thought that the
following day would see a return to normal, i.e. sun sea and agreeable winds
in the right direction... wrong Winds in the general right direction yes,
however I retired to my cabin a master's suite currently on loan to me for
daring do.... etc, etc
During the early morning hours the rain started I could hear it on the
decks hard, rolled over went back to sleep boat going well despite the
little bit of rain. On watch again at 1200 hours Jon who leads the port
watch was at the helm, looking thoroughly miserable, looking might not be an
apt description as I could hardly see him under the canopy but still almost
out of sight. The torrential rain was pouring down one could barely see
50yards off the boat. Jon looked wet, utterly. Morning says I , how long
has this being on for , his response was unrepeatable.
This rain lasted for the next two and a half days ( add nights) and the
boat the people on the boat were wondering who turned on the taps, comments
to the world water shortage were ripe. Shall we say not here.
We experienced winds of varying strength with mini squalls one minute
12/15knots from X direction then 28/30 knots from the other the wind at
least settled in direction, so to the rain straight down. ( Sailing in these
conditions is trying as to what sails if any one should have up at one
time.It is not the strength of the wind but the abrupt violence of them in
such a short space of time, knots to 30knots in less time than it takes
sometimes to say it, one could if you are not wary cause serious damage to
To those of you that know how hard it is keep a boat dry on long passages
this session was not what was ordered. Damp was every where despite our best
efforts to control water ingress. One wag on the crew said there was more
water in the air than in the sea , what's going on.
Still if you didn't mind the torrent we were making good progress towards
our destination, and at a reasonable pace. Hamilton, Bermuda is now to the
west of us and the Azores just a matter of turning slightly to our right.
With luck 4 and half good days sailing.......
Events are at sea to be expected but, watch change and breakfast , details
relayed between crew members, a casual request to check the main sail
settings as Barry our new boy at the helm couldn't quite work out why the
leach of the main had suddenly dropped. Looked odd.... On Rebel we can see
from the main saloon along the full expanse of her deck right forward, and
at those times running down a wave watch with a degree of trepidation as we
trust the on watch helm to steer a steady course , but we cannot see the
main as it is above the main saloon deck house.
The weather looked a if it was clearing , no rain at last although Jon who
had experienced most of the worst had hands like paper mash, pulp might be
better way to describe them,he at least wasn't complaining but he made it
very clear his hands needed a rest from water in or out of the sea. I
ventured on deck to check the fittings as I do on a daily basis and to carry
out Barry's request . At first nothing appeared to be wrong the shape of the
main sail was not how it was normally set but going to the opposite side of
the boat to my dismay the reason for odd shape of the sail clicked. The
goose neck at the boom end was hidden around the far side of the mast. In
short the fittings at the point of mast and boom were not where they should
have been . We had lost a vital pin that had decided to take a walk .
The four of us then dropped all sails , including the main. and reviewed
what we had. Or hadn't.
Rain or no rain , strong uncomfortable swell , whatever , we had to lower
the large boom onto the deck to relieve pressure on the starboard side of
the Mast, and to prevent any further collateral damage. After much effort
several alignments of equipment, trial and no degree of cursing. With engine
running to assist with some form of stability we set out to find a fix for
the missing pin. Now this boat has a diy dept that has machine tools that
would put B&Q to shame, It has more spares than I have ever seen on a boat.
So there was hope. Eventually we deemed that a stainless steel pin which
later we established as the locking pin for our life raft. This is some bit
of kit, substantial, and more importantly fitted the Goose neck aperture
perfectly. Jon who is a great fixer when the chips are down went about the
task in his normal manner. Our new Goose neck Pin works and Rebel's main is
now again up and drawing under the breeze. At the time we were fortunate in
that very little damage was done to any other item when the pin fell out,
the weather was abating, all be it not the rain.And after some four hours of
lowering the whole boom structure, then back again to enable us to align
everything to place the new style pin. The job was done.and a drink all
round had (Miller time as we like to put it) That was not the end of the day
when we had rather quickly dropped furled foresails , it had been noted that
the furled appeared very stiff.
Chapter Two starts here and by now crew an skipper had thought many times
what had we done etc to deserve this. The sail on the furler was a very fine
sail, and very probable one of our best, it works extremely well, it was now
well and truly jammed . A quick trip up the mast this was not going to be,
a rolling swell and choppy sea left over from past events.etc. It was going
to be difficult, right david, that's me, what do you want to take with you
and how do you want to do this. That's Jon by the way, believe it or not we
are related, Barry the new boy asked quite reasonably why him, well Jon says
I'm much bigger than him and could you lot pull me up there in this, anyway
look at him there's nothing to him so that's settled. He likes doing it....
Barry is excluded as he is on his first trip, and Tony said it very clearly
what am I looking for. So up the mast it is. With a variety of assorted
tools. The pendulum effect even at the hounds was wild , and the gyrations
of the mast around the boat had Jon smiling with glee, something along the
lines that's my brother up there. At the top or just short of, even having
lashed myself to the mast it was very uncomfortable. The recailerant Furler
at the top fitting was clearly jammed with the top cap completely off
hanging over the wire forestay and not affixed to the foil track as it
should be. I hour later after a....... of e lot of effort The jammed sail
has been relised and dropped, the offending traveller aligned and the
broken lug/pins (2) have been removed. I make the deck knackered, All
through this period up the mast other than send me items requested the lot
on deck kept quiet, later they said over the evening meal that I looked red,
and weren't sure if I was going to land in Washington usa,or Africa such was
the motion of the mast and boat. A bucket was sent up with items in it ,
that swung from far outside the port hull to the outside of the other , and
as I remarked at the time from the top of the mast that bucket is me at the
top. Thankfully job was done and day over.
Shattered we were I think feeling just a little pleased with our selves,
tomorrow we would again be sailing. The plan for arrival at the Azores long
gone. Just pleased that now we would be able to sail there.
Now Rebel is silent quietly sailing with Picasso up under the glorious
evening sun , our first day of sunshine for three days,the sea is a
shimmering blue, we have trialled the new boom fitting, it seems to work,
washed all our cloths, the back end of Rebel looked like a Chinese junk this
morning as we all dried ourselves , our gear, cabins, whatever we could out.
The boat is once again our haven against the elements .
I got a message out in the early hours to the boats owner , explained
predicament, and what we proposed, he was immensely supportive as was his
business partner, and I started to figure out how to insure that we might
continue onwards to Rebel's Home port with at least three more spare Pins
Tim my earlier e-mail in response to yours , you could be right, where you
sit is important .....
Jon later in the day said if it was that wild why didn't you take the
camera so we could all of had a look.
To all at home despite recent events all our well, even Jon's hands have
recovered, Tony has been forgiven for tying off a halyard and then hauling
the lose end to the top of the mast, recovered I might add very quickly in a
36 knot squall, by some nameless who climbs masts rather fast. Barry has got
over the shock of the week in seeing his skipper disappear aloft not once
but twice, on the first occasion he stated to JON that he 's going up the
mast in this, we need him you know, Jon ever supportive replied, yeah but we
need that rope too.
To my family , friends new and old look after yourselves.
Regards and Best wishes