Log Day 10/11 - "Trials & Tribulations!"

s/v Safena's blog
Simon Ashley
Thu 6 Dec 2018 22:57
Mmm - the day started well. Good weather, lightish winds (10-13kts). We flew the cruising chute again. First sign of trouble, while we were working on the foredeck the main gybed with the autopilot in wind vane mode. It was caught by the preventer but odd that it should happen.

The chute unfurled ok and flew well but our track was NW. It was fun for about 3 hours when we decided to take it down in order to get onto a more westerly track. The chute furled badly with large pockets of unfurled cloth in the mid/upper section (probably not enough tension on the sheet while furling). So we attempted to unfurl it again in order to try and get a better furl up. But it just would not unfurl, something has overlapped somewhere. We took it down and packed it into the bag. No damage done but we wasted a lot of time trying to sort it. Something to sort another day on land or in the marina in light winds.

Shortly after, we became becalmed. While trying to get sailing the mainsail gybed again unexpectedly and backed against the preventer which made the yacht impossible to steer. Initially we could not understand why this was happening. Was it a problem with the wind transducer or the rudder? We put our GoPro on a long pole and videod under the yacht from the transom. Everything looked fine, no weed, nets or ropes.

We flopped and flogged for a couple of hours before the wind filled in and it was frustrating but we were determined not to use the engine.

Noon position 18 14.74 N, 40 09.88 W.

Late afternoon it became quite overcast and there were some showers. After dinner we became becalmed again - completely not as forecast! Also we appeared to be surrounded by squally showers. It was now dark. Suddenly the wind went from nothing to 25kts! We furled the genoa and attempted to run off downwind. We then incurred several accidental gybes and it was clear the wind transducer had completely malfunctioned - the mainsail was backed to starboard against the preventer but the wind direction was shown as coming over the starboard beam!

Under the circumstances we decided it was not safe to continue sailing. We furled the sails and motored throughout the night. We hoped we would be able to sort this out at first light. It was upsetting as we aspired to crossing the Atlantic under sail alone and this was the first time we had started the main engine since before the start of the ARC. Also there was about 20kts of NE wind all night, perfect for sailing and just what we had been waiting for!