Tuesday and Halyard Jamming
06 February 2018 | The Southern Ocean
Yesterday we had another halyard jam and there was no way I could climb up the mast down here. We spend an hour and a half working out the jam from the deck. Although the wind was not strong there was just too much wave action action to climb the mast. Waves make the motion at the top of the mast down right dangerous. And, in addition, the mast head is above the shroud attachments and the jib halyard that I use as a security, and therefore working at the top of the mast is quite acrobatic even docked at the marina. In addition working out the jam doesn't get rid of the cause of the jam. So although we had managed to drop the main, rehoisting was impossible and even if we could have done it the problem was bound to happen again. As we're going south to 50d and start being in the way of the traveling lows having a mainsail that is jammed up the mast is not a good idea. With that in mind I had been thinking about a work around that would actually bypass the use of the masthead sheaves which are, I think, at the root of the problem. The idea was to hoist with the spare main halyard (which jams as well) a block a the mast head with a line from the mainsail head to the block and back down the mast. Then if the main halyard jams it doesn't matter because its purpose is only to hold that block at the mast head. The spare line then essentially becomes our main halyard which is external to the mast. The old spare halyard holding the block has become fixed.
Since I was worried that the block would have a tendency to move around I wanted to climb up the mast but not to the mast head and put a strap around the mast to keep the block from moving laterally too much. Janneke convinced me that the strap wasn't necessary because of the way the mainsail car is linked to the mast and she was right (that woman is one clever puppy!). The beauty of not bothering with the strap is that no mast climb at all was necessary. Since we had worked out the jam somewhat hoisting the block was a breeze. Then hoisting the main with our new external halyard went as smooth as a baby's ass! Even more smoothly than when the regular halyard worked. I'll check in a couple days that chafe is not an issue on the new external halyard but so far so good. I feel much more confident about the set up now.
Other than that the temp is dropping: 11C outside last night and water temp dropped another degree since yesterday. Cabin temp was 55F this morning with 96 % humidity. I'm thinking about starting the diesel heater but not sure that it'll work underway. We staring to add layers. Washing up is a distant memory, a wipe suffices: start at the face then armpits and down. Single wipe, complete clean up! Janneke said yesterday that she was actually going to do a bonafide sponge bath but I think it's bravado! She has already put off the ordeal until today. I had been drinking my morning coffee in the doghouse facing aft to look at the sea through the door. But now the door is closed, so I face forward.
The weather pattern is still complicated and right now we are close hauled at 40d from the apparent wind on a course about 10 to 15 degrees north of East! A pretty unlikely occurrence in the roaring fucking
forties: wind are supposed to oscillate between NW, W and SW ad eternam!
ANd the whole week looks like this or worse: Wednesday and Thursday 32 kts grib from the NNE! Jesus H!
I hear Randy so well that I have hopes of hearing him all the way to the Horn but that is probably rather optimistic.