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Sunday, April 8, 2012

4/6/2012 Equipment Malfunction, User Error and Bugs

Days five and six

We have settled into our watches and Island Bound is performing well but the winds are awful. We decided not make our island dive stop because the winds were supposed to be excellent for making tracks towards the trades and there was a predicted swell that would have made the anchorage untenable. Friends on three other boats are there now diving with the Manta Rays and we sit becalmed with out sails banging and popping under the lightest of winds which worse yet keep clocking around us in a circle. So much for our great weather window.
The winds are the worse so far today but the past two days have not been much better. Yesterday we decided to hoist our light wind sail so set off to rig it up. Bill wanted to try a slightly different configuration and set up so fresh off four hours of sleep and still groggy we moved to the foredeck. For those who don't know Bill is an engineer and.......I'm not. I have learned loads of things in order to be out here on this big ocean but being able to quickly envision mechanical workings in my head is not one of them. I have a decidedly empty place in my brain where there should be an ability to work through spatial issues. Bill on the other hand simply see's things a different way and then sometimes expects me to have followed his thought processes (perhaps by osmosis)and sometimes never the two shall meet.
He had the pole -a fifteen foot, carbon fiber, telescoping whisker pole -in his hands and wanted me to be working the thin red lines while he lengthened the length of the pole from some 15 feet to 25 feet. First he wanted me to ........then he wanted me to ........then no grab that one and go forward......then...Oh Sh!t! I stood holding two of the red lines in my hands while the third line which HAS to be tied down (it holds the pole up) had come loose and was now half way up the mast jammed in a pulley while the end of the whisker pole was falling, falling, falling until it's tip was two feet underwater with four knots of wake trying to tear it off the boat. We managed together to push the pole forward out of the water and get it back on deck but no one was very happy and everyone was suddenly mad. Eventually cooler minds prevailed and in a surprisingly short period of time everything was back on track and we were soon scudding along in the light winds with our beautiful brightly colored asymmetrical pulling us along.
A very short time later I was down below when I heard another howl. I rushed topside and discovered our asymmetrical was now hanging along the port side of the boat completely in the water. Bill was hauling hand over hand and shouting at me to turn the helm into the wind in order to reduce the drag as much as possible. It turns out that the halyard for the spinnaker had parted/chafed/untied -who knows, its stuck at the top of the mast- letting the sail and our brand new chute fall overboard. Again we had things quickly under control. Nothing worse the wear but we are now unable to use our light air sail for the remainder of the passage. Unless of course someone goes to the top of the mast, a thing nobody likes to do and is even less inviting while wallowing around with fluky winds and a 8' swell rolling under the boat. I guess only time will tell how desperate we get for a light wind sail!
Today dawned warm and calm, again. Everyone is well rested and settled in to pass the time with books and IPods. We polled out our Yankee and are making a whopping 2.5 knots as we roll and bang around. So I decided it was a good day to cook a grand meal -sliced, chilled tuna on a big Caesar salad: make some croutons, wash the romaine, grab the Ponzu sauce to season the tuna, brush off the bugs, Bugs!!! A cupboard full of little brown bugs. So much for settling in to read. Does anyone remember which locker the bug spray us in?


P.S. The bugs at least seem to have been contained to a single locker -the flour and baking supplies are safe as are the brownie mixes. Disaster averted.
It was an instant crisis but one which we had fixed

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