Saga Continued

Alongside Persimmon, Caleta Saurez
Wind: Northwest F3 gentle breeze
Weather: partly cloudy, cool

Continuing from where I left off last night, we were still in the Golfo de Penas struggling to make ground to the west to get clear into the Pacific Ocean. It became evident that we were just not going to do it with the staysail trysail combination. I would need to set the mainsail but it was too windy for 2 reefs so it would need three reefs. Another wrinkle to the problem was that while the mainsail has three reef points in it I can only have two set up at any time so naturally leave the first and second reef lines reeved and when the third is required (rarely because then I normally go straight to the trysail) I re-reeve the first reef line through the third reef cringle (claro?). A couple of times I went on deck to drop the trysail and set the mainsail but each time a squall would pick up, cold with sleet and I decided to wait a little longer for conditions to perhaps moderate. Eventually however I would either have to set the mainsail or give up on escaping Golfo de Penas and run for shelter behind the northern headland of the gulf. This I really did not want to do because once there it would be extremely difficult to get out again. Around midnight I decided I really had no choice but to set the mainsail. First I transferred the first reef line to the third reef cringle, then dropped the trysail, sounds simple but not so, this took about 30 minutes, by which time my hands were extremely cold. I went below to warm them up a bit and then went back on deck, and to hoist the mainsail, but the halyard jammed. Looking up with the spotlight I could see some thin line normally secured to the mast steps to prevent halyards catching on them had come adrift and fouled the halyard. Being small stuff I decided there was a god chance it would break if I heaved hard enough. First I tried dropping the mainsail again, then reset it, more time lost and more importantly more ground to windward lost. But eventually we got the mainsail up and the triple reefed main and staysail combination were perfect for the conditions, we managed to sail about 20 degrees higher and a knot faster which normally I would not want to do in these conditions, but I wanted to clear that headland and get out of the gulf. It was still toucvh and go but during the frequent squalls the wind would back into the southwest a little more and help lift us more to the west. Come twilight I could start to make out Peninsular Tres Montes, it was looking good, and by dawn it became clear we were going to make it. I was ecstatic. We were clear of one of the most difficult stretches of the Chilean coast.

From there we sailed all day north, now being able to ease sheets a little for a beam reach and then a quarter run. Eventually we made the shelter of Estero Cono where we escaped he incessant huge swells of this stretch of coastline, started the engine, dropped sail, and motored the remaining two miles to Caleta Suarez at the head of the fjord where Persimmon was already waiting for us, along with three Chilean fishing vessels. No sooner had I tied Sylph up then a large smiling dark skinned fisherman ordered me below into Persimmon. He was a cook and had prepared a wonderful fish dinner for us all. It was indeed very welcome, along with the glass of Chilean red wine. BC even scored some left over fish.

Today I caught up on some sleep, replaced an alternator drive belt and started repairing the jib. This last is gong to be a big job so I hope another south westerly doesn’t arrive too soon.

Now it is time for dinner with the friendly Persimmons - the fishermen left early this morning.

The heater is working for some reason right now, another job, I will take BC over to Persimmon so he scan sit in the warmth of their saloon for a while.

All is well.

Bob Cat:

More fish, but no heat. It just seems we cannot get our ducks all in a row.

Oh well, what’s this? The carry case, we must be going a visiting. Mean more …. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.