Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Drifting Along...Then BAM!

The winds were very light yesterday. So we decided to put up the new drifter – asymetrical sail. For non-sailors, this is a very large sail of lighter material that is good for downwind sailing in light air. They are often, as is ours, bright colored. Our friend Tom brought this sail with him when he visited us in Bocas del Torro, Panama. We ordered from Hong Kong Sails and had it delivered to Tom.

We take down the pole that we have holding our our headsail and get the drifter up (this is a chore in the rolly seas). We're sailing along having gained about a knot of speed with this sail, but the seas still are big enough, and the winds light enough, that the sail regularly collapses on itself and refills jerking the boat and making a racket. Then, all of a sudden, BAM! The sail is now in the water. Its a big sail and it seems to have broken off from the top as both the bottom sheet and lower pennant are still attached to the boat and we are dragging the sail along. We get it back on deck and realize that the sock that holds the sail is still attached to the top by a halyard we were very lucky that Michael could get this bit down with the sock's control line without losing the halyard. So now we have a salt watered, soaking wet huge sail on the foredeck, as the sails sock as a separate piece and have to get up other sails to we can move through the water without letting the waves have their way with us.

We manage to get the sail down the hatch (wet) and the main back up. We take a breather than get the pole and head sail back in place so we are sailing again (albeit at 3 knots). The pennant that holds the sail to the halyard at the top was made of a stainless steel wire and nico press fitting. Chinese workmanship at its best – the fitting gave loose. Now this is only about the sixth time we've flown this sail – so its just about brand new! It can be repaired – but not today.

Less than 150 miles to go, but like we started, t looks like we'll finish at a tortoise pace. We are barely making 3 knots through the water. Today, Michael will get in the water and clean the prop, shaft, thru-hulls, and some of the bottom – maybe that will take us to 3.5 knots of speed!

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