While on watch early morning, the wind was dropping and I decided to go back to two reef from three. Then I tried to roll out the genoa, to find out that the starboard winch was very hard to turn. I jerry rigged something to sheet in using the port side one and when Jean-Paul came on deck, we took the winch apart and found out that the gear used for the fast speed was completely jammed. We took the corresponding part from the port side winch and put it in place on the starboard one. It works but means that if and when we tack, the winch on the port side will only work on small speed. As long as we know, it should not be a major problem.
However, it is more and more obvious that we need the email address of a reputable boat yard in Horta to take care of that problem and that of the broken stanchion base. We looked at it, and we believe that it should be possible to weld it back in place, as the bottom plate is still in place. Taking it out would be a major job, as it is bolted to the deck and access to the bolts might mean to cut out part of the ceiling liner, made of heavy fiberglass.
Today, we received several messages relating to a 34 foot sailboat "Grain de Soleil". They triggered their EPIRB on April 24th, from about 400 miles west south west of Horta. The EPIRB continued to transmit until the 27th. Because there was a major storm over the Azores at the time, rescue efforts could not fly over the position until after 48 hours and found nothing.
We will be sailing close to that area between the 12 and the 13 and we hope for a miracle.
Now that the weather has become more manageable, life on Papy Jovial is returning to its regular routine. Last night, we cooked with a can opener for a "cassoulet toulousain", and tonight Jean-Paul is improvising something with the left over, some bacon and some potatoes.
Our position at 18:00 TU-3 is 33:26 N and 42:15 W. We are 730 miles from Horta as the Crow flies, but it does not mean much with this wind keeping in our nose. The NOAA weather charts show the Azores Hight settling down on the west north west of the islands, and we have to be careful not to go there as the closer we are to the center of the high, the less wind we will have.
We can only keep a close eye on the weather and take it one day at the time.
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