Sunday, August 16, 2009

A day of breakdowns

Yesterday and all night we were having great difficulties to control the
boat under gennaker, with many squalls full of wind and rain. In fact,
the bag says gennaker, but to me, it looks exactly like a spinnaker with
narrow shoulders. In the morning, I find out that the plastic
contraption that keep the tack close to the forestay by gliding up and
down the rolled up genoa has two big craks up and down below the strap
and an horizontal crack just beneath the strap. Not a major problem in
the short term, but I will have to replace that part. At 10:00, we get
the biggest rain squall of the trip so far. Lots of rain and lots of
wind. I go forward and take the spinnaker down and we stay under the
main only, still doing 5 knots. Then it kind of dies down but it is
11:30. I hoist the Yanmar sail so that we can have a quiet lunch
(grilled wild alaska salmon, spaghettis with mushroom sauce, dutch
cheese, chilean cabernet). We'll see after lunch what to do.
After lunch, we decide to go for what is a big mistake (we should know
better), which was, since the wind was very light at that point, to set
up the spinnaler the traditional way on the whisker pole. The problem is
that a whisker pole is not a spinnaker pole. It is longer and much
lighter. After no more than 10 minutes, it snapped in two parts.
So, we take everything down, secure the two half length of the pole, and
go with what we have left, which is unroll the genoa. But we would have
to go to far away from our course. So, I set up a block at the end of
the main sail boom, ran the genoa sheet through it, let the boom go as
far as the shrouds, and sail like that. No bad. Not perfect, but not
bad. We do almost 6 knots with less than 20 knots of actual wind. That
will do for the time being.
For the day, we have covered 133 nm and closed on the destination by
123. We are now 461 nm from the finish. The forecast is not terrific,
but not bad and we should still make it by August 19, 20 at the latest.

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