Day 4 | Damage at sunset

Thu 29 Nov 2018 14:03
22 49.5N 025 41.3W @1300UT 29/11/2018
Daily Run 198nm
Tune of of the day: "Silent Running" by Mike and the Mechanics
Yesterday continued in much the same way that it started. A confusing sea and fickle breeze plagued the boat as we tried to head South West into a more consistent wind lane. Alone again, we couldn't see any other yachts and only heard a few brief crackled radio calls between two other yachts, EHO1 and Quokka. The rolling sea provided some challenging cooking conditions for Ben, who this time managed to refrain from self harm. A lunch of "Thai inspired tuna on toast" and a planned dinner of "Spanish inspired chicken and rice" would ensure that the crew were well fed going into what was to become a long and testing night.
During the day, normal routine continued - Minkey is working through the Factor 30, Mike talks about, but doesn't actually, change his boxers, Ben works his magic in the galley, Mark continues to search for the Bose bluetooth speaker which the rest of the crew keep hidden for fear he will share his eclectic playlist and Iain wonders how much more of this he can actually take.  Our plan for the day was to sail South West until sunset and then pop in a gybe and point West again directly back towards the Caribbean.
Despite sailing conditions being uncomfortable, morale was high as we set up for the final maneuver at dusk.    The sun was setting fast, and the first half of the gybe set went without a hitch. As we were setting up for the final stage, Iain, who at this point was assisting Ben on the foredeck while hugging the mast tightly to stop himself from slipping into the abyss, noticed that the bolts holding both the vang and goose neck (the two parts that hold the boom into the mast) were coming loose. We always somehow knew that, beyond the pure entertainment benefits, bringing a crew member with no sailing experience, but an engineering skill set (being a former airplane engine maintenance specialist) would provide useful.... ACTION STATIONS!  The crew default into 'get the problem fixed mode', except for Mike, who is arguably the most useless person one could possibly have on a boat when something breaks, and we therefore put him on the helm to drive while Mark, Minkey, Ben and Iain get on with making the rigging safe.
After an hour of grunting, cursing and blaming various, boatyards, riggers and yacht managers, crisis - for now at least - had been averted.  Iain led the effort, finding the relevant tools and miscellany of items used to make things secure, including copious amounts of lock-tight, a few ratchet straps, several meters of dyneema rope.  Then we were able to sail once more and spent the remainder of the evening chest beating and congratulating ourselves on being masters of the universe, like all men do when they put up a shelf at home or top-up the car windscreen washer fluid.
Repairs completed, we were off again with a much improved wind angle and we found ourselves surfing towards the Caribbean, while Ben returned to the galley to finish off his Spanish inspired feast. Now that the sun had fully set, dinner was served in the cockpit in complete darkness and we couldn't actually see what we were eating - in London you can pay a lot of money for a similar culinary experience.  Although we don't fully know what we had consumed, we do know that what ever it was tasted epic.  A well deserved meal after the evening drama and, for the first time since he stepped aboard, Iain didn't want to immediately make an offering of what had eaten to Neptune.
Unfortunately, our twilight surfing conditions didn't last. Come midnight, the wind had dropped and the sea state had chopped up again. This is not what we wanted at all.  Progress was painfully slow and we took it in turns to endue a 2 hour frustrating watch each through the night as the sails flogged helplessly and the entire rig shook time and time again as we were thrown around on the ocean swell like a cork.  As dawn broke, the wind freshened, shifted in our favour and we once again, we found ourselves flying. Good morale fully restored.
Iain has just started to prepare the much anticipated sausage and egg butty lunch, the consequences of which remain uncertain.  Stay tuned...
Theia Crew
Today's "firsts" for Iain
- A shower at sea
- Repairing a loose mast fitting in the dark with a head-torch and some rope
Daily Stats
Max boat speed: 12.4kts
Dolphins spotted: 0
Gybes: 1
Swear words used: 2,497 (mostly by Iain)
Bolts tightened: 32
Flying Fish on deck: 0
Buckets of vomit: Zero