Wednesday 26th June 2013
The mainsail turned out to be in a pretty bad way. The big tear was mended by Kevin at Yacht Services, who did a pretty good job the very next day, but as we were putting the sail back on I spotted daylight through a small tear high up, so we lowered it again. On closer inspection we found numerous places where there were small tears, and another larger one right beside the first mend.
Kevin at YS was very helpful and offered us the use of his loft and sewing machine to tackle the mends ourselves, and we spent most of the next day in the sail loft stitching patches over the bigger tears (each about 1” long) and sticking repair tape over the smaller ones. Unfortunately Kevin only had red repair tape, so the sail now looks like it’s got measles. It was not an easy job as he only has a small SailRite machine and it was impossible to feed much of the sail through it. Anyway, we have done our best and the sail is now back on.
It now remains to be seen if it will hold up under sail. We don’t know if the damage was all due to our pulling on it or whether the fabric was sun damaged and we just about finished it off. The upshot, in any case, is that we need a new sail, so we have been in touch with Jeckells who have all our specs on file and they are making us a new one and shipping it out to Tahiti. Interestingly, they no longer recommend the Marblehead Dacron our current sail is made of, as apparently “sail technology has moved on” and what we now need is Bainbridge Ocean Premium Plus which is “proving a better and more durable fabric than other dacrons, even Marblehead”. Typically, we are just a few months outside of the five year guarantee period.
So, this afternoon we will put it to the test as we head off to the Tuamotus, a passage of just over 500 nmiles. The wind is forecast to be coming over our port quarter, and if necessary we will sail under headsail alone. It would be better if the wind were coming from behind as we wouldn’t even bother to get the main out but run downwind under twin headsails. But we are not that lucky, so we will just have to do what we can.