RE: Position Report on Saturday, 29 March 2014

The Alba Chronicles
Neville Howarth
Sun 30 Mar 2014 15:46

Position Report on Sunday, 30 March 2014 at 0800


05:05.64S 094:13.45W


So far, we’ve done 315 miles with 2,685 miles to go.  In the last 24 hours, we’ve done 110 miles.  We’re sailing at 5 knots in very calm seas, still heading south-west towards 7 degrees south because we've not reached the trade winds yet.  The sun is out, we've just had a lovely fruit salad with yoghurt for breakfast, I 've got a cup of tea in my hand and life is very pleasant at the moment.   Here’s what we did yesterday and overnight.


29 March 2014   Galapagos to Marquesas (Day 3)


The tear in the mainsail was from the leech along a seam for eight feet.  Fortunately the stitches had failed along the seam itself, which "just" needed to be restitched, but the sail cloth had ripped a foot from the leech and would need reinforcing with a patch.

After agreeing a plan of action, I went to bed for a short kip because I'd been up for eight hours, leaving Glenys sewing the seam by hand with our brilliant "Speed Stitcher".  She spent three hours sitting in the cockpit, surrounded by the bulky mainsail, hand sewing the seams.  The job was made more difficult by the constant rolling of the boat in the confused seas and, to make matters worse, it absolutely threw it down, so she got soaked through to the skin.


When the leech of the sail  ripped, it pulled out the leech tensioning line, which runs inside a tube made from a piece of sailcloth running the whole length of the leech. This long length of 4mm line had been pulled out.  We spent half an hour trying to thread it back through, but only managed to get 20%of the way before we gave up - the leech would just have to stay un-tensioned.


I talked to the other boats on the net and most of them had experienced the bad weather, but we'd had the highest winds.  Interestingly, "Kika" were 60 miles to the east of us and had a pleasant night  - these squall systems are very localised.


After lunch,  we dragged out our Sailrite sewing machine and Glenys set it up on the saloon floor because we were rolling so much that she didn't want the heavy machine on the saloon table in case it slid off.  We cut out a couple of sailcloth patches to repair the damaged leech and pulled the damaged part of the sail down below.  It then took a couple of hours to put on the patches and zigzag stitch along the damaged seam to reinforce the hand stitching.


We finished the repair by four o'clock.  Glenys did most of the eight hour job, getting me to assist occasionally.  Thankfully, we came out of the heavy rain just before the sail was ready to put back on the mast.  It took fifteen minutes to man-handle the large sail up on the pitching deck and hoist it.  The repair looks good although the leech is fluttering because we have no way of tensioning it.


By this time, the wind had backed to west-south-west at 15 knots, so we were able to sail south.  A couple of hours later, as darkness fell, the rain finally stopped and the heavy cloud cover was starting to lighten up.  Unfortunately, the wind also started to drop, so by eight o'clock, we were motoring south-west again in the rapidly calming seas.


The night was wonderful, the sea was calm and the motion very comfortable - even the stars came out.  By 2200, the wind had backed even more to the south and increased, so we could sail south-west once more.