Thursday, December 22, 2016

Oh No! There Goes Big Blue!

Big Blue: my favorite sail!
It was a beautiful day: sunny with a blue cloudless sky and light winds. Not a great day for sailing, though. Light wind and S/V Trillium do not get along well. We need at least 8-10 knots to move us and she is happier at 15-25 knots.

After she blew, we were back to white sails.
Since the wind was behind us (our worst point of sail!), we decided to fly our genaker – the one I call Big Blue. I love this sail! It is big and bright blue and white. It pulls us along at a comfortable speed and a smooth ride. This is how I like to sail. We don’t fly Big Blue often because the wind needs to be in the right position and under 13 knots. So it was a perfect day for Big Blue.

While the other boats were motor sailing, we were having a lovely sail. The wind gradually increased from 7 to 10 knots and we were having a great sail. I was lying in the cockpit looking up at Big Blue and enjoying a nice ride across calm seas. And I mean calm as there wasn't even a ripple on the surface of the Indian Ocean!

This is the long leg ahead of us!
Just as I settled into my bed for my afternoon nap, Dennis shouted and I bounded up the companion way to see Big Blue shredding itself! We quickly started bringing it in with a tear the full length of the leach, but that is repairable. Our crew member was on the line bringing it in as I eased the sheet. Once it was in, he stood up and released the line he had used to furl it without tying it off.
Then it happened! Without tension on the line, the wind grabbed the top of the sail and started unfurling it. The force unwound the sail and it separated again, but this time it tore from the luff all the way down. Now we have a triangle of the leach, luff and foot with the sail fabric only attached on the foot. And it was heading toward the water! 

Not much wind so we are motor sailing.
Dennis managed to pull it in as Don wound it in again. Once it was all gathered on deck, they stuffed it into the sail bag. Sailmaker, here we come! Hopefully it can be repaired. I am very sad about Big Blue!

The daily deck walk to check everything.
Later in the day, Dennis discovered that the Watt & Sea had broken off the stern – again. We had had this issue back in the Pacific Ocean. I am not sure why the brackets are not made of stainless steel as there is so much force on them. Maybe they need to re-engineer the ones that are going out on the high seas. Now I am in search of parts again, but at least this time I have a dealer with whom I have worked. And since it is a French product, I may be able to get it in Reunion or have it sent to Reunion.
The Captain's new look.
Oh, the challenges for circumnavigation! We have to remind ourselves that a blue water yacht is a little city of its own. All of the systems provided by the utility companies, city and state like water, sewer, electricity, etc. must be generated and maintained on board. Of course, the challenge is greater when we are on our longest passages like this one. It makes for some worries and sleepless nights. But it takes us on wonderful adventures!

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