13 August 2011 | On the way to Christmas
Quite astonishingly, the sun breaks the horizon here at the late hour of 8. Im quite happy not to arise and tinker around in the dark hours of 6 and 7 and this morning was no different. At 8 the sun dutifully appeared and so did I.
Ah, but a quick simple project before: since the wind during the night had changed to the south and I was going west, it made sense to put up the main as I was now on a beam reach-wind directly to the side of the boat. I headed up to the mast and started hauling on the halyard. Immediately the sail got stuck in the lazy jacks, the ropes that sort of hold all the folds of the sail in place. Undid the lazy jacks, sail flew out in every direction. Corralled it all back in place again, steered the boat into wind. Boat very reluctantly, without engines, stopped halfway into wind. Ran back to the cockpit urging her along with the rudder. Rudder is jammed.
Looking back off the stern of the boat, almost knowingly, I see the safety line that I drag (my last chance if I fall overboard)is now caught in the rudder and Shearwater is quite happily sailing away with partially up sails and jammed rudder. Back up to the mast, let go both halyards - down come both sails. Boat stops.
No choice but to get in the water-a very last-resortish type of thing. Put on safety harness, tie a rope between it and the boat and most hesitantly let myself overboard into 17000 feet of water. Peering anxiously out of the mask into the depths, searching for any big sort of creatures lurking around, who might also be waiting for breakfast. Found the offending rope, tugged and tugged until it came loose. Jumped back aboard - no relaxed morning swim this was. Turned on the engines, boat into wind, hauled on the halyards, set my course, turned off the engines and away we went.