07.12 Fenix In the fast lane

Fenix II ARC
Liz/Steve Rakoczy
Thu 9 Dec 2010 19:59

07-9.12 2010   In the fast lane              576 NM           “13:53N 49:47W”


07.12   The Parasailor worked really well in 20kt wind gusting to 25 kts until in the darkness of the early morning it started flogging and bang! All hands on deck! Life jackets, lanyards on, clip on! Deck light on, sheets, guys, downhaul eased and the beautiful blue sail was slowly doused by the sock. We lowered the sock, collected it into the sail bag, cleaned up the ropes and contemplated the damage. The diagnosis: under the huge pressure generated by the strong wind the Parasailor, flying with a spinnaker boom, simply stripped and broke the boom’s track from the mast.

08.12   Sadly, we put up the jib and a partially unfurled main and traveled with this arrangement all day. The night watch brought high seas, a starless and moonless night. As the waves with cheeky white caps on their tops rose above the transom by1-2 ms I felt a bit of under siege. Sometimes the caps had a fluorescent glow as if a ghost army was trying to invade my safe cockpit.

Luckily the wind direction was good and we traveled 181NM in 24 hrs in strong wind and choppy seas. It sounds all good but unfortunately in the morning the wind direction changed and we had to do a dead-run to St Lucia. Steve devised a scheme to repair the track and the repair team of Steve, Mark and Kynan cut off the broken track, re-tapped the holes on the mast for bigger screws and Voila!- we had our track back, or at least a piece of it. By lunch time the wind had picked up and we were sailing only under a jib, now poled out. In the afternoon we jibed and goose-winged the jib and the main. Very happy! Flying at 7.5 kts exactly in the direction of St Lucia.  Then, around 16.30 bang! The track broke off the second time. We collected the ropes and the bits and pieces. We became experts in damage control and quickly set up a single partially furled unbalanced jib for the night. Weather report: Wind NE 25kts, seas 1.5m swell 3-3.5m. Pretty rough. Cooking was a nightmare.

09.12 In the morning Steve enthusiastically presented his new ideas about the repair job. By now cut off bits of the track and wooden bars were added to brace and reinforce the structure. After 6 hrs hard work a bizarre looking formation emerged and we set up the goose-wing arrangement again. It seems to be working ok and we are flying again, sometimes reaching 9 kts.