Day 179 – Calms and Split Split Pins

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Fri 10 Jun 2022 06:51
Noon Position: 37 32.8 S 099 27.3 E
Course: E Speed: 4 knots
Wind: N Force 3
Sea: slight Swell: NE 2m / W 1m
Weather: overcast, light drizzle, mild
Day’s Run: 63 nm

The forecast for the last 24 hours has proven accurate. We continued to hold
a light S’ly until the early hours of this morning when the wind died and I
was forced to hand sail to prevent slatting and chafing of the sails as
Sylph rolled in the ocean swells with insufficient wind to keep her sails
drawing. At 0900 I tried setting sail again but this proved premature, the
hint of a breeze faded away and we were left rolling with sails slatting a
bare half hour later, so down came the sails again.
However, I have used the forenoon drifting to good effect. I have been
through my heavy weather check-off list as we are expecting a force eight
gale in the coming days after the passage of a front expected late this
evening. I have checked that hatches are properly secured and that the
bilges are dry. I have run the genset for a couple of hours to get the
batteries as fully charged as possible. The series drogue has been broken
out of its stowage and made ready for immediate use. The stove is full of
fuel and ready use stores replenished. And perhaps most importantly I
managed to do a rigging check.
Despite the rolling I thought it wise to go aloft and eyeball the split pin
in the masthead forestay clevis pin that I have been worrying about. I was
of course hoping that my worries about the miscreant pin were misplaced but
on inspection this morning I was disappointed to find that they were in fact
well justified. The pin had sheared half way through and it was only a
matter of time, and probably not much time, before it would have sheered the
rest of the way through. So back down on deck I went to collect some tools
and a few split pins, then back aloft to replace the troublesome pin.
I wish there was more that I could do to ensure the security of the forestay
but I cannot think of anything. Obviously my options while out at sea are
limited. I figure that all I can do is what I have been doing, namely going
aloft and checking the pin whenever it is safe to do so. Also, I shall
certainly be favouring the staysail over the jib, especially when the wind
picks up.
Checking through my logs I find that I replaced the split pin on 17 May,
less than four weeks ago, which is a bit of a worry. I find it strange that the pin had lasted
for several months without an issue and then when I replaced it a few weeks
back it now appears to have become more of a problem. Oh well, there is no
point second guessing what one could have or should have done. All we can do
is act to the best of our abilities based on the information and knowledge
we have and then hope for the best.
The rigging check was timely for just on midday, as forecast, a useable
breeze from the north has started to fill in
and we are now back under full sail.
I forgot to mention yesterday that we advanced ship’s clocks one hour to
time zone -7. If feels good to be heading east again and marking off our
progress with the changing of ship’s time.
All is well.