Date Saturday 11 May 2013
Location Gulf of Leon to Manorca
A pitch black night and the RG650 is rocketing down wind with three reefs in the main and a full solent in up to 30kts of wind. Waves roar and crash around us as we race towards Palma in a Mistral. Nearly two weeks ago to the day I hit a sunfish in this area breaking the transom on my boat, I keep a vigilant eye out for flotsam, logs, sunfish and whales as we surf down wind at 15kts.
0000. Estimated position 20nm south of Ille de Porguralles. No GPS, Instruments or pilot. I go below after steering the boat in rough weather for the past four hours to find lots of water! Most of it is coming in through the hole in the deck caused by a backstay malfunction, but a lot of spray is also entering by the companion way. I bail the water out, then close the companionway hatch, locking me out on deck for the rest of the night until winds abate and I have time to check the electronics.
0300 EP 50nm SSW of Ille de Porguralles. Wind abating and backing to the north, no instruments so steering by stars. So tired its hard to focus and my eyes are hazy due to all the salt spray.
0600 EP 70nm SW of Ille de Porguralles. Got instruments and pilot working. Pumping out leaking boat. Put boat on pilot and go below to get a wet few hours sleep.
0712 Just woke up to find water everywhere. Must find where all this water is coming from. GPS still not working
1130 Position 41 34N 004 52E Wind backed and abated. Storm jib down, solent up, boat speed increases from 7 to 9 kts and more than 15kts on good surfs.
1600 Wind abated to an estimated 15kts. We are under powered but its still very choppy. I set up the code 5 and wait for a calm spot for the hoist. There is a lull in the swell, so swing the pole out and start the hoist. When the Code 5 is half way up we surf down a wave and the bowsprit ploughes into the wave ahead which bends it back underneath the boat.. pole now bent.. when will I learn.. this is the third time this has happened to me!
1610 Investigate the damage. Lucky the way I have designed the new pole allows me to easily end for end it. I take the pole off the bow, and start making modifications Within a couple of hours I have the pole back on, the tack, downhaul and guys lashed to the other end and the entire assembly serviceable again. The pole is now 300mm shorter, but it still allows me to fly spinnakers for the rest of the passage so I hoist the Code 5
1930 Position 40 38N 004 18E. Pole repairs holding with the code 5, and wind has abated even more so I hoist the MWS and increase to full main. Now we are regularly surfing at 13-15kts, so much fun!
2100 Position 40 13N 004 18E The lights of Manorca light the horizon just as the wind dropps off to the point where I am now struggling to fill the spinnaker. Only hours ago I was making such good speed I thought I would be in Palma by Sunday morning. Now things are not looking too good. So much for strong winds forecasted all the way to Palma!
2130 Zero wind. I drop the sails and decide to get some rest as the boat drifts towards Manorca.