Problems at Sea
24 November 2007
Each boat I deliver develops a few problems whilst on delivery. This boat is no exception. Yesterday we had the spinnaker up the whole day and I was going to carry it through the night. The "little fellow" sitting on my shoulder told me to bring it down just before sunset. When we tried, we could not drop the spinnaker onto the deck as the outer sheath of the halyard had somehow chafed through and was now jammed inside the mast. This meant that we had to act quickly and I went up the mast on the main halyard and had to cut the spinnaker halyard to drop the "bag" onto the deck.
Let me tell you that going up a mast, at sea, is a daunting task on a mono-hull but on a catamaran it is outright dangerous as the mast is swinging back and forth very quickly as the boat goes over the swells - there is no rolling affect as there is on a mono-hull.
Well, we have recovered the sail with not a rip to it and recovered the halyard out of the mast. Now I will have to try and determine what caused the breakage and use what we can of the old halyard to jury rig a temporary external halyard to be able to sail with the spinnaker. It is a sail we cannot do without! Imagine what would have happened if I had decided to carry the spinnaker into the night - the entire halyard would have chafed through, the spinnaker would have blown forward and into the sea with the boat then sailing over it and ripping the sail to shreds.
On trying to get the spinnaker halyard out of the mast, we discovered that the starboard lazy-jack, which broke on the first day out of Cape Town in gale force winds, has jammed inside the mast and appears to be caught inside the mast. This is a problem and will need further investigation whilst in the calmer (hopefully) waters of James Bay, St Helena.
So, we are motor-sailing in a light easterly breeze, which looks like it will be with us all the way to the island. I have revised our ETA to an 18:00 arrival in James Bay.
From a frustrated crew, greetings until the next report.