small world sailing

Day 11 »« Day 09

Day 10

N33.40.59 W061.32.37

Wind SW verring F6-7 Gusting F8 Heading 050T

A Hard Days Night.

Last night was a mini adventure. Fustrated as I was with yesturdays light
winds being stuck under a front all day, a little after lunch I un-reefed
the mainsail and poled out the foresail with the spinika pole again but this
time a little reefed down so the pole was clipped onto the toe rail to
starbord and the tack of the foresail to port.

I retired to bed, remarkable little boat this, the waves can be 12+ feet and
yet sleeping in the saloon bunks you can hardly feel the boat moving.


I went up to check all was well a couple of times, the wind had picked up
and we we’re trucking along at 6-7kts……fabulas. On my third vist the
wind had increased further still and now the rig was becoming over pressed.
Time to take action.

A spinika pole is an aluminium bar with a quick release clasp at either end.
These clasps are joined together by a cord the length of the bar and by
pulling the cord this way and that you can release the clasp on the end you

I let the foresail line go slack then moved forward to release the pole, the
tack of the sail is a good few feet outboard so to release the pole involved
sitting on the deck, pulling at the cord to release the clasp and jiggling
the end of the pole to release the sail. After some effort the sail went
free and placing the pole down on the deck I returned to the cockpit to pull
in the foresail line and stop the sail from flogging. This done I went back
forward to retreive the pole………but it was not there!

Oh (insert suitable expletive)! thought I. In pulling on the cord to release
the foresail and in the ruff and tumble of the night I must have released
the clasp to the toe rail and whilst back in the cockpit it had slipped
quietly beneth the waves.

To be honest, I feel more annoyed for not checking the pole was still
attached than I do for loosing it. It was too big and heavy and cluttered
the side deck to starbord always getting lines and saftey strops caught
init. I’m sure it was not the right pole for the boat as it was around 16ft
long. I had thought it was a liability swinging it around on the foredeck
between the stays and trying not to go overboard with it. In fact, it nearly
didn’t make it on the trip, I nearly left it in Nassau.

Being single handed is an entirly different experience to sailing with crew.
Every element is different, sleeping, eating and of course sailing. It
requires it’s own techniques, there are some oddities to how I have this
boat rigged, but they work for me. Had I have had a helmsman, I could have
called to sheet in the foresail and carried on removing the pole back to its
place myself, but it wasn’t to be. Whilst I have rigged a Spinika single
handed before, it wasn’t overly sucessful and ended up going over the side
when I took it down, so the loss of the pole is not something to dwel on,
what I would like now though is a whisker pole designed specifically for
poling out foresails in light downwind situations, my downwind performance
from here on in will have to be re-thought.

Now, with it blowing hard, I’m sailing under reefed down main only, no
foresail at all, doing 5-6kts in the direction I want to go, big seas again
and if one wave knocks you suffitiantly off course I have to go help the
Hydrovane correct the course. Considering the near gale force nature of the
conditions I am amazed and pleasently supprised by how well my little ship
behaves, running before the wind obviously takes a bit of a kick out of the
situation with the boats speed reducing the apparent wind, and it is a happy
coincedence that I happen to be travelling in the right direction whilst
running away, but I have spent most of the day in the cockpit reading a
biography of Syd Barrett (pink floyds original singer) who took too much LCD
and went mad (thanks to Rene for that one, very insightful) and as you can
tell by the length of this entry, I’m not feeling pressed to keep things on
track, though I’m prepared not to get too much sleep tonight.

In other news;

Herbs got a bit of a lisp, which is quite nice to listen to on the radio,
telling everyone how their next 24hrs will pan out weatherwise, “idewally
you should head north apwroximatwe 20degwees”. Last night however I heard
him talking to a navigator with a stutter…..laugh, I nearly drowned!.
“M-M-My position is N-N-North33-3,1-1decimal22-2,9-9
W-W-West66-6,88-8decimal55-5,8” not sure how sensible it is to have such a
navigator even in the age of PC equal oppertunities and all that guff, some
things just lack common sense.

I can feel the force. Proper sailing this is.


May 21, 2008 at 19:32
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