Hung Drawn and Quartered
We are in purgatory! We have been stuck within a 100 miles of Sydney now for 2 whole days tackling an adverse ocean current with little or no wind! Then when the wind does fill in we are little caught with our pants down. Zero to 30 plus knots of wind in no time flat with little or no warning!
Once such incident like this occurred last night and caught us under full main with our Code 1 kite up, that is rated to 12-15 knots. I arrived on deck after the all hands call to find the Code 1 had literally been hung, drawn and quartered! The head of the kite was flying from the mast head like a flag, the front corner (Tack is the technical term) was dragging in water down the starboard side of the boat, whilst the back corner (the Clew) was partially wrapped around the rudder and trailing in the water behind the boat. We were effectively disabled in the water, unable to steer until the parts in the water had been retrieved, with only 3.5 miles of sea room to play with. And yes the boat was being blown towards the shore by the prevailing wind…….
First thing to do was to slow the boat down, so we reefed the main as deep as possible. This unfortunately was only down to reef 2 as a couple of evenings previously in a similar out of nowhere gust a crash gybe snapped our reef 3 line.
However after a concerted team effort over the next 2 hours in the dark we managed to retrieve the parts in the water that allowed us to gybe the boat away from danger with a little less than 2 miles of sea room left. That just left the part stuck up the mast to deal with – yet another job for our resident mast monkey, Claire to deal with. This time in the dark. Many of us are glad we have somebody so keen to run up the mast aboard!!
By the time we had sorted all this to the point we could start racing the boat again, the fickle wind had departed once again and we were left becalmed trying to cover the last little bit to Sydney! SLOWLY!!!