Episode 7

Thu 24 Aug 2006 19:23
Hi all, (anyone), Am writing this from the hellish pit of discomfort which
is post gale downwind sailing. But, glad to report we are making good
progress, as I write (Thursday) we are well over halfway to Gran Canaria,
less than 300 miles to go. On schedule. Sue now has a pretty good pair of
sea legs and these conditions would put the hardiest to the test. She is
also a night watch vet having now done two 3 hour stints on deck in rotten
conditions. Securely clipped on but nevertheless challenging for anyone with
imagination. Huge following seas that look as though they are going to break
right in the cockpit, only to disappear under the stern and roll on. I feel
a bit uneasy about leaving her but try to make sure that Thisbe is well
trimmed and James is doing his stuff, so all she has to do is watch for
ships while the boat sails herself.. It must be said that Sue has again
proved herself to be courageous and gritty. Hats off gentlemen. (I can
almost hear the experienced sailors scoffing but everyone had to start
sometime). Its very important for everyone to get some rest and the three
hour shifts we are doing gives us six off which is great. After the good run
on Tuesday night (130 miles) the wind slowly died during the day and by
lunchtime we were plodding along at 4 knots. A little aside here, to
celebrate how close we were to the African coast, Sue put a Fray Bentos
snake and pygmy pie in the oven, I dont mind a bit of pygmy now and again,
can be chewey though. Anyway, wind had died, so in an attempt to be pro
active, I decided to put up the twistle.Tech at end if interested. Mistake
! All went well to start with, carefully planned and beautifully executed
until the sail was halfway up and stuck in the luffgroove. I decided the
only way to sort it was to go to windward, so shouted to Sue to start the
engine and come about. Long story short, had a good dunking, right through
to our drawers, failed to get the rig up, or down for a while, and spent the
next exhausting hour trying to sort out the mess. The joke being that the
lull was the one before the storm, in the next hour the wind piped up and
blew about a seven right up our exhaust pipe. What a night, fortunately I
was on the worst shift and had to work hard all night to get the right
balance of sail to windvane, since then it has been a wild ride. Safe
though, thanks to the good old Nic 32. The mind plays funny tricks in the
night, I would swear heard African drums beating while dozing off watch,
only the crockery which rattles incessantly. Also dreamed that I could feel
the soft caress of a big thick sensitive tentacle as it explored the cabin,
turned out to be the collar of my jacket which I was sleeping in.We are
starting to feel a bit worn down by the constant rolling, and it looks like
another long night of the same, so sighning off now to go on deck and check
it out before dark.
Best wishes to all Manny Sue and Alex.
Tech. Twistle rig is two poled out headsails suspended from a halyard but
not attached to the mast, various hauls to control it but said to help ease
the roll.
Sorry very short but much to do. Manny.