Spinnaker salvage and whale watching

It’s been all action since the last blog. We have had our first whale sighting of the trip, two minky whales on our port side swam along with us for a while. We have seen lots more dolphins in the day and heard them at night time.

Our first flying fish appeared on deck a couple of nights ago and we have since had a couple more sightings. This afternoon I rescued one from the foredeck as it was about to fly down Daniels hatch.

Adrian got the rod out yesterday and we have been trailing a line from the stern. Five minutes after the line went out we got a bite and after 15 minutes of tackling and debate amongst the crew as to if we can justify slowing the boat down for a fish. The boat speed won and the fish got away. We are yet to have another bite but watch this space….

The golden apron award went to Gary as a hint for him to get more familiar with the galley. He also got a card for his monkey acrobatics after completing a rig check up the mast. Gary took his apron duties very seriously serving tea and hot chocolate to our watch in just the apron during a late night watch… Jen got so taken aback a winch handle ended up going overboard in the process. The golden apron was then passed on to Phil who I think knew it was coming after making an appearance in the galley in
the morning requesting instructions for operating the coffee machine and asking where the sugar was kept.. on day 5. Despite last minute attempts to avoid nomination by doing the lunchtime washing up the apron was passed to Phil. Rosie got a card for being an all round good egg, foredecky, rigger and beautician extraordinaire after giving Jen a pedicure on deck during an afternoon watch.

From the last blog as you probably saw Phil’s watch was gloating over the 2-0 to them on spinnaker rips (never a good idea to gloat as you never know what’s round the corner) however this was not to last…..

The weather has improved today but for the last couple of days its been very squally and seen several watches in their oilys, with sails being furled in and out as the squalls come through. Chris Tibbs the weather forecaster said go south until the butter melts. We have been going south for 6 days now and the butter only started to melt today.

It seems that any action that is going to happen tends to want to happen in the middle of the night. The other night shortly after David and Gary left watch and Nick and Phil took over a squall came through , followed by a broach with our beloved pinky flying, boom in the water and pop ! Pinky our only remaining spinnaker made a dash under the boat for Davey Jones’s locker! A call for all hands on deck, several crew members in their undies,
several in pyjamas and I think at one point when grabbing some clothes Gary was even trying to wear my clothes (not again I hear you say !) We got the spinnaker back onboard and bagged away, checked for other damage to get the boat sailing, and white sailed till dawn. Having managed to sleep through the first spinnaker rip happening just above his cabin, Daniel who on his own admission could probably sleep through a hurricane made it up on deck to see the last of pinky hauled out of the water.

On a closer reassessment of Pinky it was decided that unlike the big blue spinnaker Pinky was salvageable!. So proceeded 24 hours of fixing.!! First the sail needed to be cleaned, there was uproar from the ladies (and Nick) at the suggestion of using gin to clean the sail so in the end the vodka was sacrificed instead. The sail was dried and brought down below. Then the sticking began !!! For the last 24 hours the saloon looked like a scene from gay blue peter. Pink cloth and sticky back plastic-tastic everywhere. After gluing the tear and sticking the two halves of the sail back together we glued all along the luff then the leach using 60m of tape. On the last piece of sticking the can of glue spray ran out just at the end. An expensive team building event all round finished off after the glue spraying (read sniffing) happy hour was long overdue and the gin that escaped being used to clean the sail was consumed by most!! So… This is our last chance, the question 1) will it will it fly 2) how long will it last 3) what wind strength should we try and fly it in !!! 4) If it blows again will the offending crew be made to walk the plank

Luckily for the last 24 hours we have had strong winds and have been averaging 9/10 knots under white sail alone. The watches have been toned down to 2 people on for 2 hours then 6 hours off. This has allowed the crew to catch up on some much needed sleep and after hand steering for the first 5 days the auto is getting a chance to take the pressure off. Except for a brief interruption at around 6.30am! I was awoken to a torrent of swearing (Note: The first time the majority of the crew have heard David swear) on deck coming through my window and then a call from David to Daniel to wake the crew. The wind had picked up and when furling the Yankee (headsail) the sheets had got caught and caused some carnage at the bow. After turning the
boat in a few circles, with instructions from the mast to turn to port, back to starboard, back to port, more to port quick to starboard, unfurl now. Pull on the sheet. Yeah its free. Further inspection discovered that the pulpit had been pulled out on the starboard side and was all a bit wobbly, causing the guard rails to come loose. Phil and Adrian spent the morning fixing this and its all a little less wobbly now.

So after an eventful couple of days the sun is now fully out in force, the butter has melted, the bikinis are out and Pinky is nearly ready for re-launch (when the winds dropped off!).

Signing off for now.