13 July 2012
10:20PST It's warm - 67 degrees; sea temp almost 68. I'm going to rig a fishing line today - though we are still probably going too fast. Such a dilemma! If Jason were here, we'd have fresh fish already. On my watch this morning, I decided our freeloading bird (who'd spent the night in luxury atop the dodger) was more of a burden than not. His novelty had worn off (though Becky had christened him "Pete" during the night) and the amount of bird droppings on the dodger had grown exponentially. So I have him a few minutes to wake up and convinced him to leave - whereupon he flew over and landed in the ocean where he must be well used to spending his nights. 15 buckets of water, simple green, and scrubbing finally got the majority of bird droppings off the dodger. No more freeloading birds! Bill is plotting the boats from roll call in relative position to us. The anemometer mysteriously started working again which is a big relief as we don't have to go up the mast to fix it, at least until Hawaii. (Benjamin and Laurence have each already been up the mast once). The anemometer confirms we still have about 20 knots from about 030 degrees. Yesterday was a big day. We started the morning with an asym hoist, only to find we could not sail low enough, so we tried wing on wing with the genoa, but wind was light and we wanted more speed so we rigged for the big womper. As my watch began, we hoisted the sail and just as it filled and Benjamin declared, "we have a chute," the tack ring broke and we had to douse the thing in a "blow the guy" takedown. When we inspected the sail, we saw that both clew rings were completely corroded and the other one was about to break as well and realized how lucky we were not to lose the clew as well as the tack before getting the sail down. Still, the sharp broken tack ring had torn the sail in several places turning the takedown so Lolo and I went directly to work fixing the sail. First I sawed off the old clew rings, then we rigged spectra loops through the webbing at the clews. This required the least sewing. After repairing the small tears, we feasted on beef curry a-la Benjamin (which was awesome) then rigged to hoist the beast again. However, we'd all kind of missed an off-watch rest window and consequently were quite fatigued. As we readied for the hoist, I was down below using the head and Benjamin was amidships negotiating getting around the jib sheet while tethered to the jackline. A wave shifted the boat just as he was trying to get over the sheet, and tossed him over the port side. Bill was at the helm, I was still below, and luckily Benjamin, still having hold of the lifelines, hoisted himself back aboard in a matter of seconds - only a momentary man overbooard ... After regrouping, and intent on hoisting the spin, we let her fly - not noticing the wind had been building (guessing now 25 knots). The chute filled and for about 5-10 minutes, we were flying along at 10 knots. But while it took all my concentration to drive, Ben and Lolo noticed the bow digging very deep and also some seams in the spin showing light. Benjamin made the call to douse the chute as there was clearly too much wind for its massive size. Even Becky commented that it was "larger than any chute on Gleam." It made the mainsail look tiny. So - down she came. We all realized we'd been a victim of our own tiredness and haste. A few lessons learned. Spend the rest of night wing-on-wing making good speed, but more sane.