Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Broken Gooseneck

Yesterday was one week since departure; we about 1300NM from Galapagos and about 1700NM to go. Winds have been about 12-20 knots from E or ESE. Main problem has been that the gooseneck pin sheared about 3 days ago. Roger noticed the boom moving after dinner when I had gone to bed, and so we had to furl the main away, secure the boom and make it safe with topping lift,
spinnaker halyards and guys amidships. Then the following day we made up a new gooseneck from the backstay/vang handle which has worked well in terms of safety but not enough to fly the mainsail from. So our sail pattern is
poled-out genoa and staysail led wide amidships to the padeye for the guy. It's fine when the wind is close to 20 knots and we can make 8knots, but
below 15 it's a bit slow and we drop into the 6s. We have managed 180NM noon-to-noon ydy with this rig in good winds, after which it has been a bit light. Overall I think it is costing us 1 knot of speed which adds up over 10 days! I don't think we have a chance of making Fatu Hiva for Nicky's birthday.

I managed to make a bad furl on the asymmetric and get the top down and bottom up going in the wrong direction. So we have tried hard to get it to shake out but it wouldn't so we have manually unwound it all, and will have to hoist unfurled without a sock, which I only feel comfortable doing in lighter winds than we have. So we haven't been able to fly the asymmetric but it's just a bit windy for that at times. A rock-solid not-too-large symmetrical spinnaker might be the answer, but that would be harder to do with single watches.

Single watches are working well and everyone has time to get good sleep, if it isn't too rolly. Nicky packed the freezer with meals she pre-cooked in Panama and they have been great in these conditions. Last night was Babotie, previous night chicken in tomato and Noilly Prat sauce, night
before that was fillet steak with Dinah's delicious roast potatoes. Fruit and veg is holding out in the netting in the saloon and in the pilot berth, but needs daily checks to throw out hairy carrots or potatoes.

Crew good, great fun to have Alex on board. Roger is a fantastic fixer of things. We have a shiny new flush shackle on the anchor which shouldn't catch on the stemhead; we have tried hard to isolate the electrical fault on the mainsheet winch (but manual is fine); and we haven't yet fixed the problem on the engine start battery (but we can link to the generator battery which is working well).

Massive book-reading going on. Elizabeth Jane Howard Cazalet novels, I am Pilgrim, Sebastian Barry, Bryson's a short history of nearly everything

Glad Arsenal made the FA Cup Final. If Macron winds the French election with a party that is less than 2 years old what does that bring? UK Election presumably driven by the Tory Right - I think we keep sailing

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