23 Sept 2011

[Captains Blog] Mid Biscay

Yesterday, part way across the Bay of Biscay, we were trying to roll in the reefing headsail but it jammed. This was the mechanism that had failed in the Channel and caused us to divert into Falmouth for repairs, which clearly weren't successful. We removed the headsail to look at the mechanism to the great interest of a pod of dolphins, who stayed with us throughout the exercise. Presumably they had never seen a sail taken down before. No success with the mechanism, we think it is the cable inside the forestay that is caught and is winding itself tighter with every turn. So we have rolled the sail in by hand, tied it in place and are now diverting to La Coruna instead of Bayona. Also, the shower pump packed in yesterday afternoon and I had to bale out the shower with a bucket and sponge. Apparently the pump was blocked solid with grey pubic hair - not mine, I hasten to add - I haven't got any! Well no grey ones anyway, I wouldn't want you to think I had had a Hollywood!.

Who said sailing is a science? You can plan with the best of them, but you always need a plan B as well. So, having stood three watches last night I got my head down this morning to catch up on some sorely missed zzzz's and feel much better for it. Getting out of my bunk at 5am was not easy!

The whole trip is making me think long and hard about our own boat - whether we would want to do the hard physically demanding, mentally draining long passages is up for debate. Would I want to do deliveries on a regular basis? No. Would Debra want to do a trip like this at all? Probably not. Therefore, should we be looking at a cheaper boat to pootle around on day sails or short trips? Maybe, possibly definitely. We have some discussions to have when I get to shore in La Coruna. What I have found out though, is that the longer you are on passage, the more you attune to the rigours of life aboard and it becomes second nature to cook eat, drink, and ablute in the various forms whilst hanging onto a grabrail somewhere nearby and leaning into the heel of the boat. Definitely need non-slip surfaces wherever possible.