Thursday, July 20, 2017

Galapagos to Marquesas: Day 2

19th July 2017

Current position: 01 54.17S / 094 52.58W at 0200UTC, 2000hr boat time. SOG 7kts, COG 283. 24hr run 160nm

Conditions are pleasant out here albeit we are traveling a bit slow. In the wee small hours of the morning and we were dodging many very large Chinese flagged fishing vessels. We counted six not including the mother ship which because of it's size of 900ft in length had to be a fish processing vessel. We assume that their home waters have been fished out and they have no choice but had to venture further afield to the rich grounds of the South Pacific.

This afternoon while under sail we dropped our reaching sail to the deck to do a few minor repairs. The old girl has seen better days and is starting to show her age with some de-lamination happening here and there. So a stitch in time was the thing to do.

Things got a little boisterous as we wrestled it to the foredeck. Still under sail but with the aid of our engines we ran downwind and brought the boat up to wind speed. We needed to do this in order to drop the sail safely onto the deck while it was blanketed by the mainsail to prevent it from resetting like a billowing spinnaker as the halyard was released. The repairs took the best part of an hour and then up it went again with the reverse manoeuvre of dropping it and we got back to the business of sailing.

A few of the Stormy Petrels are still hanging around. They are such tiny little birds with so much energy and a joy to watch as they dip and dive for their dinners. On the fishing front the count is still zero.

It's now O-dark-hundred and as all sailors have come to accept this is when the shit hits the fan.

The wind and swell have increased and we are galloping along with the screecher and a full main. Not a good scenario given the conditions. Great minds think alike as we give each other that look, time to pull in the reigns and put the brakes on.

Gingerly Liam slinks up to the foredeck to furl in the screecher while I handle the lines at the back. It's then that a problem rears it's ugly head. While the sail was down earlier this arvo for repairs Liam had loosened the line that slides the sail forward and back on the track on our prodder pole. That line had now somehow wrapped it's tail around our anchor and it was jamming the movement of the furler. The halyard, with the sail now only partly furled needed to be partially dropped.

One thing you have to understand is that we were still blasting along through the water at speed and the wave and wind noise makes it extremely had to hear each other even though I was now on the foredeck and only inches away from Liam. Lucky their were no neighbours about 'cause they would have thought we were having a doozy of a tiff.

With me sitting down on the deck and hanging on to the furling lines like there is no tomorrow so the sail wouldn't unfurl anymore, Liam eased the halyard and then slowly pulled the sail back up the track on the pole. It may all sound simple but believe me it wasn't. Eventually the screecher was put to bed and while we were still hyped up on adrenaline we put a reef in the main then rolled out 3/4 of the jib. Aahhh peace at last.

See, it's not all fun and gin and tonics out here all the time.

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