Now, where was I.....?
17 February 2012
Sorry, I was rudely interrupted by my flight home and wasn't able to finish the story of our approach to Uruguay. As you will know if you've been reading so far, it's been a pretty easy trip with no severe weather since leaving Lisbon, and winds light to moderate and mostly over the port quarter. I expected that to change after Rio but the fair winds held as far a Florianopolis, then we had 36 hours of torrential rain, and then back to the fair stuff - no complaints. My favourite sail is fast becoming our MPG (multi purporse genoa made by Hood). It flies beautifully with support from a pole and is as effective downwind as a 'reefed spinnaker' if there were such a thing. We were flying this as we crossed the border from Brazil into Uruguay, with a cheer. Then the wind dropped and it was giving us little drive, and I thought it best to get it down before dark. It was STUCK. Well and truly jammed. Both of us swung on it with our full weight and it did not budge. We were at the stage of thinking Mike might go up the mast and cut it down when I thought we might make one more attempt. But by now it was getting dark so we attempted to wrap it round the furled yankee, helped by motoring in circles, but we ended up with a bit of a wineglass. To keep the wind out of this, and to stop too much flapping, we hoisted the main and shadowed it for the night while we motored on. I thought it might somehow sort itself by dawn, but it didn't. So I rigged a block on the bow, reached as high as we could and put a rolling hitch round the sail, and took the bitter end of the line back to the windlass. It came, slowly, inch by inch, the powerful windlass struggling at times. It is a tribute to Hood's stitching that it came down in one piece. It took us the best part of an hour, getting it down a foot at a time. Later inspection showed that, somehow, the hallyard had jumped off the sheave and dropped between that and the cheek of the block. Can't imagine how. It all looked very tight, and took a hammer to get it out. All credit to Mike for sorting this out aloft.