A Day of Maintenance

Evening all.

Can’t say I've had much sleep with the winds at 40 knots though the night and dropping of to 5 knots at around 4am this morning.  The boat went from getting shoved around by wave after wave to wallowing in the swell.  It was just a touch frustrating.  Add to this the winds backed and veered throughout the night causing me to make constant course adjustments swinging between NNE to SW and back.

I finally gave up on sleeping at around 9am and decided that if I have no wind then today is a good day for maintenance.  After breakfast I finally set about trying to get the boat to move and packed away my smaller jib that I have been using non-stop and unfurled my no 1 Jib.  The big one on the bow.  I was hoping that this will help move me forward in the dismal 5 knots of wind I was experiencing.  One job that I have been wanting to get to and have been waiting for the right break in the weather to do it is the batten that is sticking out of its pocket.

For any non-sailors out there we use Fiberglas battens sewn into the main sail to help give it a nice curve.  This makes us go faster...  We my second batten from the bottom between reef 1 and 2 had popped out of the pocket at least that’s what I thought.   To do this I would need to drop the main sail so I didn’t bother to adjust from the 3 reefs in the morning.


Straight from the Southern Ocean

Straight from the Southern Ocean

I was scheduled for a radio interview at lunch so figured I would wait until after that to get stuck into it.  As there was very little wind every 10 min or so the b and G auto pilot would start beeping insistently at me.  It was the off-course alarm.  It is very hard to hold a course when the boat is moving at 0.5 knots...

After a successful interview I set about getting the main sail down.  This done I finally had my first look at the batten.  Bugger...  Instead of just working its way to the side and poking out the batten was sticking through the middle of the batten pocket.  This is a job that requires some sewing.  Normally we have these little black triangles on the end of the battens to spread the pressure on the pocket however this batten was missing it’s on and had poked a hole though.

I gathered all the tools and set the boom where I could work without losing all my tools in the water or falling over board.  I then sewed a small patch on to the batten pocket and re-lashed in the batten.  Success it only took me 2 hours...

With the job done I also wanted to do some other jobs on the bow so I hoisted the main sail up to the 2nd reef.  I had a very slight breeze by now and was gently moving along in the water.  I needed to work on the head sails so I sailed off the Jib 1 while I worked on Jib 2 and then switched.  The job was this.  Where the sails are attached to the furler I had put a big snap shackle joining the two together.  I had noticed that the bulkiness of the shackle was chafing into the furler.  Not a major issue short term but long term could create some issues so I decided to bypass the shackles and lash the sails with some 4mm spectra line.

When I had finished with the Jib 2 and began working on the front jib I was sitting with my feet dangling either side of the bow.  After completing the job I ended up just sitting there for almost an hour admiring the beauty of the sky and the water.  The ocean here is the most incredible colour blue, almost electric.  There was one big Albatross just flying around and I was very lucky just to have the chance to appreciate it.  Moments like those are what make a journey like this worth every effort.

So after my little slice of piece I have been catching up on some computer work and sitting in the nav station listening to the sails flog...  Looks like there won’t be much chance of sleep tonight either.