The crew aboard Happy Spirit are learning to deal with chafe

It’s amazing how much a problem that chafe can be, even though I thought we had prepared for it thoroughly and at great length by attaching rubber pipe lagging to all the spreaders and places like the pulpit etc.

Last night, to my astonishment, both the spinnaker sheet and the guy chafed halfway through themselves, by rubbing up against the shrouds on the forward mast, something that I had never considered may happen before, partly because we have not flown the kite much in anger or certainly not for any period of time before the Atlantic crossing. There is a lesson here to be learned, that flying kites in the dark can lead to unwitnessed events! I also believe that the rolling of the boat in the ocean swell enhances the problem.

Another source of concern is our new roller genoa, the UV strip has become badly chafed and even ripped through in some places, where when partly furled, the rolled sail on the luff has chafed against itself. I feel that this may be in part due to my sailmaker providing a poor quality strip, but still, it makes you think. It’s something you wouldn’t normally notice whilst using the sails for just a few hours every other weekend at home.

More worry are the halyards, although checked and replaced where necessary before departure, it is always prudent to alter slightly the heights of both the pole and the position of halyards on the blocks, so as to spread any chafe around. In this respect, wire to rope halyards score highly with me, even though, for some reasons they seem less popular these days.

So there are always some things to look out for whilst mooching around the deck and generally enjoying the show…