Part 1 - Day 9 gone and on the donk continuing towards Flores, Azores 38:349N

Sue & Alan
Sun 25 May 2014 17:07
Start of day 10 Noon on Sunday 25th May 2014.
In position 38º49'N 041º23'W COG 083(T) SOG 6kn On donk. Wind SW F4-5. 2m seas. Blanket of grey cloud everywhere, some drizzle.
Flores, Azores is 083(T) 476NM Dist Run by log in last 24 hours 147NM Distance made good towards Flores 149NM.

We have a wonderful wind for sailing on our poled genoa and the wind is forecast virtually unaltered for next 3-4 days...... so why are we on the sodden donk? It all started at half time (listening to BBC World Service) in the Real Madrid/Athletic Madrid Champions League Final, late yesterday afternoon. Me thinks, BBC World Service are just woffling again so may as well use the time to do my daily outside inspection around the yacht. I make a habit of doing this whenever conditions are good enough to do so and try to inspect as much as possible outside every day, although occasionally conditions have been known to put me off and cause postponement! Yesterday, when I stood at the bow and looked back at our fixed rigging I knew we had a problem in the making, which would need seeing to before anything else. Like all masts, our's is kept cental and supported by V shrouds from top to deck. The V shrouds are attached at the top of the mast, at each of our two spreaders and at deck-level w
here they are attached to our hull via chainplates. On our port side, where the 12mm wire is swaged we have 'sprung' some outer wires, which reduces it's strength. "Not what I want to see when nearest land is some 600NM away" me thinks to myself. Closer inspection using the binns (binoculars, Jennifer) confirms my initial view. Taking a close look at the other side it's not possible to know if that's OK without going up the mast. At first I thought it might look suspect but another inspection using the bins is inconclusive. The port side looks decidedly say and in need of more than therapy treatment!!!
I informed Annie & Mike and we immediately put sail away and started-up the donk. I've also fastened our two spinnaker halyards to serve as additional shroud supports and done same with our pole-lift halyard to give even more support to our port-side V1 shroud. This means we've taken all unnecessary loading off our V1 shrouds and can safely proceed ............... on the sodden donk in great sailing winds. Wonderful!!!! At first I said we would proceed directly to Horta. In reflection, however, its a Bank Holiday tomorrow so my email to DYL is unlikely to get a response until Monday morning and it will undoubtably take longer to get parts sorted so we have resumed heading towards Flores, which we pass anyway if going direct to Horta. We can at least enjoy a rest and visit Flores as originally planned. We have more than enough fuel on board. We carry some 1,300 litres diesel and had barely used any on donk since departing Bermuda, having only used fuel mostly running generator from ti
me to time. It's certainly the pitzzz because we specifically had our fixed rigging meticulously checked and 'tuned' before departing Antigua (when the riggers A&A Rigging found damage/fault on our stbd-side 14mm D1 shroud, replacing D1's both sides before we departed). With a 'clean bill of health' on our fixed rigging we now have a problem and are running on sodden donk! Whilst I am annoyed, I am neither depressed or disheartened because on an ocean passage across the Atlantic shit will happen from time to time and it's how we can deal with it that counts.
.....................continued in Part 2