Blue Skies

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Mon 10 May 2021 03:36
Noon Position: 33 28.0 S 163 39.0 E
Course W by N Speed 6 knots
Wind: N, F4 Sea: slight Swell: NE, 2 meters
Weather: mostly sunny, warm
Day’s Run: 110 nm

I am very pleased to report that I have fixed the headsail furler. I was looking at it yesterday afternoon and noticed that the marks which over time the joins in the foil leave on the sail were not lined up by at least a couple of inches. It looked like I needed to raise the foil ever further. By this time the wind had picked up a little and it seemed increasingly likely that I would need to shorten sail during the night. The idea of a headsail change on a pitching foredeck in the dark, something I have not done for a long time, did not appeal to me at all so I decided I would have another go at fixing the problem.

Once again I attached the spinnaker halyard to the foil with a rolling hitch (what a handy hitch it is) and tensioned it with the winch. This time the foil popped out of the furling drum so I was certain I had lifted it more than enough. Now the problem was getting it back in. This proved to be not too difficult and I soon had it back together but not before dropping one of those irreplaceable custom bolts over the side. Bother! Fortunately, while not ideal, I figured one would be enough.

I then attempted to get a couple of turns on the headsail and was pleased that I was able to do so; however, it was still binding in one spot and it took quite a bit of force to get the furler past this sticking point. But the wind was picking up and I figured it would do for the time being, at least it should get us through the night.

Which was just as well because we spent most of the night with two reefs in the main and the jib partially furled, broad reaching to a fresh N’ly breeze.

Come the forenoon watch the wind shifted into the SW requiring a tack but then, with blue skies in the offing, the wind started to fade. At 1100 the wind was down to a faint breeze - an ideal opportunity to give the engine a run under load to burn out any carbon build up and to give the batteries a decent charge.

With the clearing skies I managed to shoot meridian passage and then, with the breeze starting to return from the north, I once more set the jib. As I unrolled the furler, the binding was quite severe and I needed to winch in hard on the sheet to get the sail to set. Not good! But this looked like an ideal opportunity to have another go at fixing it. For the third time I attached the spinnaker halyard and lifted the foil clear of the drum. This time I noticed a pin that was extruding from the foil. It was bent and clearly was causing a problem. I am not sure what it does – I think it holds the foil bearing in place – but for now it was doing more harm than good so I removed it. This time I managed to get the locking holes in the foil and drum lined up and the locking bolt is hopefully now seated properly. I also managed to find a bolt that would suffice as a second locking bolt even though it was not specifically machined for the job. I reckon its got to be better than just one bolt.

By the time I had finished the wind was picking up a little. Excellent!

So now we have the furler fixed (fingers crossed), the sun is shining so I will be able to practice a bit more celestial navigation, we are sailing to a nice breeze from the north, the engine is silent … and the skies are blue.

Time for another sun sight.

All is well.