Day 6 of the Vendée Globe…
The past couple of days have been really grueling. Not from the sailing conditions, which have been beautiful, but rather from a pile of work I’ve been doing to try to get the boat dialed in.
Part of the reason that I went through the Canaries is that I was seriously thinking of dropping anchor for a day or two so that I could really focus on getting things done. But the conditions were good enough that I could work without giving up much more time (than I already have). Early yesterday, I hoisted our new fractional spinnaker, dropped the mainsail (flying the spinnaker only), and spent about four hours up on the boom re-rigging reef lines, etc. In our rush before the start, we ended each reef line by wrapping around the boom several times to lock them in place. Unfortunately, cumulative wrapping generated so much constriction that on the second reef it had started to crack the boom. So for the first and second, I used strops of webbing going around the boom just once instead. I couldn’t get at the third reef with all the sail (and me) on top of it so I’ll try that later today now that the main is back up. I also had to rig some tricky lashing to keep the mainsheet block from inverting which was quite irritating.
This pic from this morning gives a little idea of what I was up to. Now, just to get to that third reef (the red one)!
So that was during the day. After dark, I moved on to releading our boom vang purchase line which was chewing itself up and replacing the broken top batten in the mainsail. With the rotating mast, running the vang line cleanly has been driving me and Jason (Winkel) crazy, but I came up with something that is at least worth a try.
Okay, so then it was early in the morning and the main is ready to go back up. But since I had the kite up, I couldn’t luff up enough to hoist the sail in between the lazyjacks (the battens get caught). And dousing the kite with no main to hide it behind…..well, be glad it was me instead of you. Eventually the kite was down, the main back up, and then I opted for our good ol “Borland” genniker which is up now.
Some sleep at some point sounds like a good idea, but I still need to finish reef number 3!
The jury is still out on whether I have succeeded in drying out the backup autopilot control head enough to revive it, but will get to test it later today. I also gave it a good blast of Corrosion X so we’ll know if that helps.
Meanwhile there’s a race going on and we have given up a lot of ground (or water, that is). But at least in the smoother waters around the Canaries, I was able to keep sailing while working and that’s better than stopping!
“Boat worker Bruce”
Bruce Schwab, Skipper
USA 05/Ocean Planet