A Penny’s Worth of Wind

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Fri 8 Apr 2016 01:49
Noon position: 12 12.6 S 178 24.2 W
Course: South Sou’ East Speed: 2.5 knots
Wind: South West, F2 – light breeze
Sea: slight Swell: South West, 0.5 m
Weather: sunny, hot
Day’s run: 81 nm

Our ETA for Fiji is all over the place. Goodness knows when we are going to arrive.
A few days ago, while lolling around in a calm, I followed an old sailor’s custom by throwing a penny into the sea to bring us some wind. Well last night we got some wind; a bit more than I bargained for and not from the preferred direction at all. At about 22.00 the wind started to increase and the rain to fall. I held off reefing for a short bit because we had had a couple of rain squalls go through during the afternoon which were short lived and were not really worth reefing down for. This one, however, was different. The wind picked up to about 25 knots and backed into the south west, and the rain bucketted down. I ended up putting two reefs in the mainsail and furling the genoa down to 50%. This was probably a mistake and I should have furled it completely and set the staysail instead. I actually did set the staysail in the genoa’s place early this morning when the wind picked up another notch, but in hindsight this was too late. I did not notice any damage to the genoa at that time, but it was still dark when I made this decision.
At eight the wind was easing again so after breakfast I went back on deck to set the genoa and to shake the reefs out of the main. In doing so I noticed the a small section of seam near the leech of the sail was coming undone, and the genoa had another significant tear in another panel. I dropped both sails, started the engine, and got stuck into repairing them. I did the mainsail first which was relatively simple as the separated seam was only six inches long, but was made a lot more challenging as I had to balance myself on top of the dinghy on top of the coach house roof while Sylph rolled every now and then, threatening to pitch me into the sea. The genoa was a little more complicated. I had to drop the sail and then make up a large patch to glue onto the sail with contact. Trying to get it all lined up, clean and free of spray while again balancing against Sylph’s rolls was difficult, but just before midday both sails were repaired, back up and drawing. Now, if we only had a little more wind.
430 nm to Fiji. ETA - ??
All is well.