Sunday 16th, at sea

Lynn & Mike ..around the world
Mike Drinkrow & Lynn v/d Hoven
Sun 16 Mar 2008 11:36
07:22:91S 029:10.15W
Hi Mike here,  I am on watch again and thought I would bring you up to date of the
happenings over the last few days.
We have been dragging a lure with a teaser for a few hours everyday but have
had little further success. Yesterday afternoon things changed when in the
late afternoon, as a rain storm was about to hit us, "viskop" Coenie shouted
"Fish" and to our delight, we had another very excited bill fish following
our lure. It had a go at the lure. At the time, the wind was up
and we were screaming along at 10  and at sometimes as high as 12 knots, and
this fish was having a full go at the lure. One could see the dorsal fin and
the bill out of the water. Eventually it got hold of the bait and was on for  a few
seconds but it threw the hook due to a bad hook-up. After the excitement, we
consulted a reference and again we came to the conclusion it was a long
billed spearfish - not huge but possibly 50 pounds. The record is 90 lbs so
it was a nice size but extremely difficult to put a weight  to when its 30
meters from the boat. It's a privilege to see these fish and I must admit
while I would like to catch them, I may have a problem taking it out of the
water - in fact I think I would let it go.
Well, the rain storm came and so did the wind! At the time we had developed
a new sail layout where we flew the large spinnaker together with the
foresail. An impressive area of sailcloth- probably about 270 sq meters of sail out
the front!  The spinnaker  was held out by the spinnaker pole and we sailed
off the wind to keep the foresail open. A whole new experience for us!At
times Indigo became a little unruly, and soon I decide to furl the foresail but
the wind still increased and it  was not long when we were again surfing
at 10 to 12 knots. The rain came down  and the wind blew!  Willy made a few
comments that we were over canvassed and I agreed but was hoping for the
wind to abate as we could see via radar that the storm was passing us and was
moving ahead. I was still noting the performance of the boat, and enjoying
the speed when there was a bang and I thought the main halyard to the sail
had gone, In fact I shouted that it happened but realised after a few
seconds that the head of the sail had torn off.  Another lesson from the
school of sailing, don't push your luck.
The next 15 minutes was interesting, this 170 sq metre sail first blew out
ahead of the yacht, then it fell to the water and  trailed  under the
starboard hull. I started the port engine and stuck it astern to try to
swing the yacht away from the sail but it had the opposite effect and the
sail started to move under the hulls toward the port prop. That idea was
soon cancelled and I turn the helm hard to starboard and locked it there.
Indigo slowly turned to starboard  and the sail emerged from under the hull,
but still in the water. After much effort, we pulled it back on to the
trampoline and bagged it.
The damage is not too bad, the sail will have to go back to a sail maker for
repair but it could have been much worse. The damage is that the head is
torn off ( we have the pieces) and the port luff line has cut down the full
length of the edge of the sail. All easily repairable by a competent sail
maker thank goodness.A down side is that there is blue from the antifouling
on the sail, not bad but it may be a light powder blue sail in future!
After the excitement, we raised the foresail and have been sailing with it
since about 18.30 yesterday evening. It's now 04.30 am and we will raise the
main or the smaller spinnaker later this am once all have surfaced. A good
dinner and a few sundowners help ease the tension last night.
The storm, or the after effects continued through the night, it's eased now
but sleeping was a little strained as the sea  was a bit lumpy but it's
improved tremendously now.
My watch is ending  and it's time to wake Viskop! Love to all, Mike