Live Your Dream. Sail around the world.

The Day We Almost Made it to Nassau

The plan is perfect. We’re using as much of the easterly component of the wind to head south. We’re heading to the Exumas and no one is stopping us. The Exumas sound like The place for us. No one around. Beaches. Fishing. Kitesurfing. I toss and turn at 5am. 6am and I’m up. Batten down the hatches. Get the navigation gadgets sorted and make coffee. Ashley finally wonders on deck as the smell of coffee works it’s way to the bedroom. She get’s a badge most every night for staying up late. Her Girl Guides sach is full of late night badges. She’s still working on her first early morning badge. Waking is a herculean effort for Ashley.

It’s blowing a near gale out right outside the anchorage. We pull the hook and head out. It’s a grand day. We’re ready to repeat the last passage; 8+ knots of boat speed. Only this time, the waves are bigger. They’re cresting. We get as far east as possible before raising the main and head on a SE course. 20-25 knots almost on the nose. There’s some chit chat about putting the 2nd reef in. I know what’s going thru Ashley’s mind. “It’s a race. Gotta get there.”

One reef in. Genaua 40% out. Life is good. I belch against the wind: “What shall we do with a drunken sailor. What should we do with a drunken sailor, early in the morning?..” This is what it’s all about! Sailing. Living on the ocean. Battling the elements. Floating around the world.

We watch the wind gauge… 26 knots. 28 knots… “Let’s throw in a second reef!” We man our stations. Drop the halyard a bit and pull on the 2nd reef lines. Slight problem. The main won’t come down. The wind meter reads 30.5 knots true wind. Shit fuck. We’re only supposed to fly this configuration to 28 knots. We exchange words. “Crank it!” And then, BOOM! The mainsail comes down. I feel something bouncing off me. Almost like hail. I look up. The main headboard car just ripped off the mast track. That was a ball bearing rain shower. Not refreshing. Dollar signs flicker in front of my eyes. There’s a pit in my stomach. No more Exumas. Visions of limping back to Fort Lauderdale. We turn around and run for cover. Back to the anchorage. Drop the hook. Crack a beer. Or four.

Final inventory of the damage is done. We have ripped our mainsail bag. Ripped our bimini top and exploded our headboard car (that thing that holds the sail onto the mast). I crawl under the covers and go to sleep. It’s 2pm. This was not in the plans.

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When it rains, we scrub the decks.

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3 Comments

Bay
May 14, 2015

“Shit fuck.”

I don’t even know what happened, but if it’s bad, I’m sorry to hear it. I know you’ll fix it.

I already want to come visit. xoxo

Reply


Michelle
May 10, 2015

Sorry to hear about the damage (I don’t even pretend to know what’s going on there)…hope you’re fixed up and on your way soon 🙂 By the time we come and see you guys, you’ll be pros at anything your adventure can throw at you! Miss you two a tonne xo

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Doug
May 9, 2015

Sorry to hear of the high wind misadventure. Too much pressure on car, and only way to relieve would be heading straight into wind with mainsail flogging which is dangerous in itself. Luckily you are not far from suppliers, air delivery is possible. Do check the other cars as salt and lack of dry lubricant can make for high friction. Other cruisers “outchasingstars” added several cars to mainsail as distance between made for billowing sails and difficulty bringing down- had to install a downhaul. I’m sure you’ll figure it out, repair and learn and continue on to the Exumas

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