Unscheduled stop-over in Gib
During the trip from Scarlino, the plan was to make a quick stop in Gibraltar to top up my diesel tank before hitting the Atlantic. An affair of a few hours at most. Pity fate had other plans for me !
While sailing I discovered some heavy chafe on the mainsail halyard line (the rope that holds up the main sail on the mast). Had I not doused the sail to check the line, the halyard would have most certainly broken and the film would have been a little different.
The chafe was inside the mast, not outside, where solving the problem would have been easy. Initially I supected it to be caused by some rivets we had used to install a decklight protection, but after taking all the possibile measurements with the sail at all the different reef points, rivets and chafe mark did not coincide. My stop-over of a few hours had suddely become of at least 12 hours to get a new halyard line and try to figure out what was causing the chafe and how to solve it. Doing it at sea was just impossible given the wind and wave conditions. It had to be done in port.
I arrived in Gibraltar with the wind gusting 40 knots and horizontal driving rain. Not eaxactly a welcome party! The friendly and efficient folks at Alcaidesa Marina in La Linea were very helpful, and in no time I had checked in and was moorend at the assigned berth. The plan was to go to the chandlery next to the marina to get a new line, get it on the mast and find the causes of the chafe.
It was Saturday morning (yesterday) and the chandlery was open until 1 p.m. , or so I thought !
When I arrived in front of the shop and saw the door firmly shut, the 12 hour stop-over immediately became at least 12 hours longer. The guys of the chandlery had decided a month before that they would not open Saturdays. Pity they didn't update the opening times on their web page or tell the marina folks!
Being Saturday, all other chandleries were closed so I needed a plan B to avoid having to spend another day at the dockside.
So this morning I started playing with all the other halyards to get a line that would be robust enough to sustain the mainsail in the strong head-winds I expect to have in the Atlantic.
Now the spare Genoa halyard has beccome the spare spinnaker halyard, the spinnaker halyard has been moved to become the spare mainsail halyard and what was the spare mainsail halyard has become the main halyard.
The cause of the chafe has remained a mistery. I spoke at length with the mast maker and my shore team, but nobody can find a plausible explanation. Trial and error will at some point reveal the truth. In the mean time I'll have to get myself a good few new main halyard lines and prepare for the worse.
Fair winds and following seas to all.
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