Running Hot And Cold …

Running Hot And Cold …

Dec 06, 2008 @ 14:00 15:46.5N 41:49.9W

Today has been a day of opposites. We agreed last night to set the spinnaker for a full day’s sail and to meet in the cockpit before breakfast to do the hoist. So dutifully all of us appeared at 0800 hours, still in the dark and waited for dawn to break at 0830. Move now to 1200 Midday and … the spinnaker is still in its bag!

Firstly the chafed line from the night’s antics had to be replaced, requiring a technique known as mousing. The spinnaker halyard had to have its shackle cut off and re-knotted to remove the fitting from the top of the mast that had burst its rivets 3 days earlier. Then two squalls came through that soaked and chilled us and kept us busy reefing sails, throwing in gybes and generally running about like headless chickens. But eventually up went the big blue beast and with a satisfying SNAP, filled like a kite and powered us up to 9 kts and beyond – relief. Great sailing in muggy, cloudy weather ensued. Crew one minute requiring cups of hot tea are seen stripping off layers back to the normal attire of swimming trunks or shorts and T’s and demanding cold drinks.

Lunch in the cockpit, buffet style, brought back a semblance of civilization. It comprised generous helpings of excellent Spanish cheeses, Serano ham and of course Iona‘s home made bread, without which our meals are not complete. Iona has it off pat with our galley oven, which to say the least has a mind of its own!

When a squall appears on the horizon we all know how to tell if it is coming our way and the next one was. So, lunch was hurriedly cleared, the cockpit was emptied of cushions, cameras, clothing and our washed smalls were unpegged from the rails. With the ease of a truly professional team we dropped the spinnaker through a hatch straight down into the saloon below, filling it with mounds and mounds of blue nylon and then several of us dived into it and began the almost inconceivable task of squashing it into a small sail bag ready for the next airing. The squall hit at 1400 hours. It is 2240 right now and the squall has just left us. Those on deck are cold. Those below are sweltering. Despite the frenetic day, Rob, our trusty fore deck man, switched his togs for an apron and dished up possibly the best fresh oven roasted fish any of us have ever eaten – yesterday’s king fish was big enough to feed six with seconds for those still hungry enough.

The wind has all but disappeared. Actually the wind instrument is reading 2kts as I look at it. We are motoring west, using up valuable diesel, only the second time we have put the engine on to date. Let’s hope we don’t need it for long…

Nigel

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