The high winds and big swells continued through the day and with the main and poled out jib, Hejira seemed to relish the conditions and continued to bowl along. The conditions cannot have been to the liking of our similarly handicapped fellow participants because we apparently gained ground on nearly all of them, albeit that some are already well beyond catching. When looking to ‘fine tune’ the auto steering, we failed to find any adjustment beyond 3 settings ‘Performance’, ‘Cruising’ and ‘Leisure’ with no explanation as to what exactly these settings mean. Experimentation selected ‘Leisure’ as the best suited to the conditions and to our current attitude.
Having been conscious about chafe, it took Barry to spot fraying of the jib sheet at the spinnaker pole end where the sail was being held into the wind. Gybing the jib into the shadow of the main and bringing the clew down with the barber hauler, we were able to re knot the sheet beyond the fray.
It was just as well that it was spotted in time as the sheet was already worn to half its original thickness.
Barry’s loaf was a tasty triumph, infused as it was with a cocktail of seeds. His evening offering of meat balls with spaghetti was also a success – he can come again !
I replaced Stephen and Bob at 4am in torrential rain with them both sheltering below. The wind had veered and with the poled out jib and prevented main rigged for a starboard run, there was no option but for them to track the wind around resulting in us heading north. I sent them to bed expecting the wind to back after the rain but it didn’t and our course was bad. With the wind expected to go further south there was no option but to reluctantly call Barry and gybe the main and pole out on the port side which we did with the deck light on in the dark – fully jacketed and harnessed of course. Unfortunately, the wind then died back to about 12 knots and we need more than that. Our reaching speeds are not good (without the Parasailor) so we will stick with our current sailplan and track the wind around hoping it will increase in strength although the forecast is for more rain and that will mean variable wind. When do we reach for the engine key……………..
I took the opportunity with Barry on deck to ‘deal’ with the Watt & Sea hydrogenerator. When we changed the propeller I received an electric shock when plugging it back in which suggests that water has found its way into the plug. It didn’t seem to be providing the charge that it had previously which is no doubt due to shorting. So, with plenty of diesel left, we can run the generator for charge top up (we still have the photo voltaic panels and the air breeze wind generator) and dispense with the drag of the hydrogenerator as we optimise our speed towards St.Lucia and those rum punches in Rodney Bay.
An interesting day, all going swimmingly until eagle-eyed Barry uttered the fateful phrase “I think I can see chafe on that sheet”. Subsequent inspection with binoculars confirmed the issue so the Master demanded my presence on the foredeck and after a lot of “pull this” ,”Hold that” and generally prancing about doing the Foredeck Foxtrot (clipped on I hasten to add) the offending sheet was dealt with and we returned to the cockpit for parrot food. The remainder of the day was quiet with various members of the crew snatching sleep when possible. We were visited by a brace of White-tailed Tropic birds (Phaethon lepturus) and the Atlantic gained a 1-0 victory over Hejira in the fishing taking my new lure with ease. The night watch started and ended in squalls Barry retreating to his cabin like a drowned rat after manfully staying an extra half hour to bring us out of the tail end of one. From then on we were hunted down by squall after squall as if they had a purpose (the rest of the radar screen was clear of the purple menace except where Hejira was) and we handed over to the Master (whom I raised with a chorus of ‘Jerusalem’) just as we became the filling in a squall sandwich. I fell quickly asleep and awoke to the news that the Master and Barry had had to perform the Foredeck Foxtrot to prevent us ending up at the North Pole, what stars!
One swollen knee due to trauma, and one crew member delighted to have a normal blood pressure.
Little to add to the very accurate information above.
I have been granted special dispensation today…….I am on the shower schedule, so without further ado, I shall get in there and attempt to scrub up!
I sent Barry back to bed after his nocturnal manoeuvres.