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A very important lesson!
Hot and the wind has shifted to the west..another front arrives!
03/01/2011, We're in Rock Sound

I learned a very important lesson in the past ten days.
Our pretty Beneteau 473 sailboat came complete with all of the options, which means lots of convenience, and more things to break.
Last week when we sailed south from Current Cut to Hatchet Bay, we had all the sails up, and enjoyed a great ride south. Before entering Hatchet Bay, we lowered the sails (which is normal), and motored into the bay, got a free mooring ball and relaxed.
Unknown to myself there was a very serious and dangerous problem which went completely undetected.
After a day of heavy winds, the main (large) sail had suffered a failure, and the loop at the top of the sail to which the halyard (rope) is attached had failed. As I "lowered" the sail (our main sail is a mast reefing sail which means I roll it up inside the mast) I used the normal large electric winches (Lewmar 58s) and with the sail sagging due to the broken loop, we wound in the sail into the inside of the mast imperfectly.
The result was the next day, we motored out of the anchor, unfurled the genoa, set our course, then unfurled the mainsail.
Three quarters of the way out, the main sail became completely jammed inside the mast... couldn't pull it out, couldn't pull it in, couldn't lower it, completely jammed!
Thankfully the winds were light, so while under sail, up the mast I go... rather exciting being 60' above the deck swinging from a rope, attempting to unjam the mess inside the mast.... no halyard to raise things...

After a couple of painful hours I succeeded in unjamming the mainsail, so we could pull it down by hand and strap it to the deck before our arrival in Governor's harbour. In serious weather it would have been a nightmare!
Another four hours up the mast fixing things, sewing on a new loop using part of my scuba weight belt, re-hoist the mainsail, and roll it properly back into the mast.

I am not sure furling mainsails inside the mast is a good idea. When things get stuck, you have a potentially deadly situation.
Lesson learned!


Further South!
Amazing weather...we're hoping for a cloudy day with rain... not yet!
03/01/2011, Rock Sound, Eleuthera

We spent a lovely couple of days in Hatchet Bay, did the laundry, had wonderful dinners at The Front Porch restaurant (wonderful stone crab), and with a continuing east wind, sailed south to Governor's Harbour where we spent five days revisiting our former haunts.... much has changed! Funny how 35 years can do that. Another day sail down to Ten Bay Beach for some spear fishing and beach walking, then a glorious sail south in 20-25 knots on the beam all the way to Rock Sound. We got the boat speed up to 8 knots with reefed jib and main, and it was a wonderful ride... makes you appreciate the boat design in terms of sailing performance. Today was 2 loads of laundry, a visit to some of the local shops, more fuel for the dinghy and getting ready for four days of heavy weather scheduled to arrive in a couple of days. We'll stay put until the wind settles, and then start back north to the Abacos hoping to arrive in time for Louise's birthday (March 21st). There is no rush, and still lots to explore!

03/01/2011 | Hanny and Andre
Good to have some news again. We looked Rock Sound up on Google Earth. Looks like a nice protected harbour. Here everything fine, got 20cm of snow yesterday. Love, Andre and Hanny
Alive and Well!
Sunny and windy!
02/19/2011, Hatchet Bay, Eleuthera

Sailed through the Current Cut with the help of a local dolphin and then headed south east into 15-20 knots of wind.... as tight hauled as I could be. We arrived at Hatchet Bay at 2:00pm, and entered the tiny opening at the harbour mouth to find a wonderful safe place to spend a couple of days exploring.
The adventure continues....

02/22/2011 | Bruce & Linda
Glad you made it back to nostalgia-land! We are just back from Colombia. La Boquilla (Cartagena) beach where we stayed is a haven for kite surfing. We saw up to 25 in the air at once. Decided I'm too old for that.

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