Noon Update- July 15th-One Week at Sea/ Spinnaker Failure

One week ago today we departed Horta. The trip computer says that we have travelled 883 miles and averaged 5.8 knots. We have SAILED all those miles with the exception of the Drone fiasco and the Spinnaker Failure 2.0 which just occurred 1 hour ago.
As was tradition aboard sailing vessels of old we have been using this Sunday for mending and washing. Clothes were drying on the lifelines and the majestic spinnaker loomed over us as we relaxed reading and sailing the rhumbline to Newport. Things were obviously going too smoothly and peaceably. I was observing Mattia and Andres at the bow when we all heard a very loud BANG! at the top of the mast and down came the spinnaker like a billowing tent into the sea, quickly dragging along and under the boat. After making sure that everyone was OK we were able to steer the boat away from the sail and the crew heaved the large wet mess aboard. We then made sure that there were no lines or debris in the water before we started the engine (the boat was rocking badly in the waves) to calm things down. Sails were set and we sat in the cockpit and assessed what the hell went wrong. Something similar had occurred on the 2015 crossing with the spinnaker ending up in the water. The cause of that incident was a chafed halyard line at the top of the mast from the rubbing back and forth motion over the sheave in the mast. We had learned our lesson and on this trip had been adjusting the halyard line a few inches to change the stress location on the line. Today’s failure ended up being caused by a broken block at the top of the mast (the line we were flying the spinnaker from was an external line attached to an external block). As the adrenaline eases Laurie casually mentions that she is bleeding! She must’ve stepped on some deck hardware with her bare feet and sliced open a bit of the bottom of her foot. Ouch, it looked nasty. She was so chill about the whole thing we assumed that she was in shock. Yippee! Time for the medical kit. This kit was put together by Dr. Steven Dane (we did the Newport-Bermuda double-handed together) for the 2015 crossing. He was thorough. Short of brain surgery we should be good. The necessary ointments, gauze and tape were applied (she refused to allow me to make a cool looking CAST for her foot. So much for a team player….) and she will live to fight another day. Tough lady indeed, is my sister! So, no spinnaker on starboard tack (wind from the right side of the boat) until another block is attached to the top of the mast 65 feet in the air. That will not happen on this ocean passage. We still have port tack and hopefully SW winds will be in our future. That’s it for now. Over and out.


Noon Update- July 15th-One Week at Sea/ Spinnaker Failure — 4 Comments

  1. We’re sorry to hear that Laurie was injured but glad she is okay! Always a trooper. Also sorry to hear about the Spinnaker trouble. We enjoy staying updated with all the wonderful posts. Love and safe travels!

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