Ya know, some days, well they just take the piss ! pardon my French (not that, that is French at all, just an aussie expression)
I have always said that its a skippers prerogative to change their minds, its a healthy seamanship thing, that one must be flexible in one's thinking, and today has been one of those. Bullet points, like my work lists may make this easier to explain.
1: Barometer stopped dropping and winds were strong, but not extreme 28 to
32 knots, 4 reefs in the main and reduced head sails, trucking along nicely.
2: Broad reach and running conditions needed a better balance on the sail
plan so the full crew was on deck to pole out a reduced head sail.
3: Jane on the helm hits the days record of 15.5 knots of boat speed.
4: Wave breaks on the aft quarter of the boat and the entire crew are
swimming in the cockpit, safe and sound but bloody soaked.
5: Pole back down as the boat isnt sitting well, winds now 48 knots true
6: Winds still building and skipper says that the forecast was rubbish.
7: Furled up all of the yankee and hove too as the winds are now 52 to 54
knots (smart move)
8: All below, and dry out a bit (remove fish from pockets)
9: Check new weather grib files, skipper looks depressed, this low is now
not only stronger but is being backed up by another new low in 36 hours,
that makes this one look like a kindergarten !
10: Skipper finally gets some sleep (you can tell by the snoring)
11: Winds ease a bit by 6pm, and the plan is to make a move on (34 to 38
knots, nearly tropical)
12: Team on deck for preparation to sail, crew from cockpit signal skipper
with waving arms raised aloft ( not a middle eastern religious heavenly
13: Skipper realizes that the sun is shinning through a large hole about 3
meters vertically above the fourth reef in the main sail (this is not
14: Skipper mouths the words Oh F.....k, not that any of the crew could hear
this as its still blowing 40
15: Main sail fully dropped and lashed to the boom.
16: Crew not sure what to say to Skip, as this potentially changes what was
planned "Big Time"
17: Cigarette smoke smelt from the companion way, must be lots of thinking
18: Xplore gets back under sail with 50% yankee and partial staysail, new
19: Jane starts looking on the navigation chart plotter for the nearest port
on the NZ coast.
20: Skipper consults and an initial plan is made, Gisbourn or Napier ? two
and a half, one the other ?
21: NZ Taupo maritime radio contacted for advice, great bunch, top help,
fast and right there on the ball.
22: Sail maker friend (Pirate Pearl) contacted back in Nelson, and a call
going through to North Sails in Auckland AM tomorrow to arrange for
immediate repair time at their sail loft.
23: Marina space booked and customs notified of our re-arrival for 2pm
So now its just a case of getting back to a nice fresh sail, don't have to let the main out, as its not there, but we are still doing 8.5 to 10 knots of boat speed, the winds right up the clacker and still blowing 34 to 42 knots. Stephen