Dear F&F, September 26th, 2011 (Eastern Hemisphere)
Today marks 4 years since \”Beach House\” left Marina del Rey, California. Needless to say, much has happened.
Two days ago, we were having a brilliant spinnaker run which lasted 16 hours. At 4 a.m., the wind started to pipe up to 25 knots so prudence dictated dropping the spinnaker. For those of you who don\’t know, a spinnaker is the brightly colored sail that is used to go down wind…..fast!
We were making excellent time, averaging around 9 knots and occasionally getting into the low teens. When we went to lower the spinnaker, it wrapped up like a package on the staysail. We were able to sort this out pretty quickly but I had my hands full (literally) with the sail. Anja took the control line (called a sheet) and tied it to the lifeline as I instructed her to do. The only problem is, I didn\’t tell her to pull it up tight first. It looped under the starboard (right) hull and wrapped itself in the propeller seizing and stopping the engine. This cannot be fixed without going under the boat to clear it out. I often have the engines on at a very slow speed to aid in giving us quick maneuvering ability while making a big sail change. Next time, I\’ll not have the engines \”in gear\”.
After we got the spinnaker down, the wind calmed and we could have flown it another full day (which I wish we had!). Yesterday was slow because we were under powered using only the genoa instead of the spinnaker. It\’s 1/3rd the size and we were a bit under canvassed.
This morning at 5 a.m., I realized we were going to be lucky to get to Luganville today before dark. We motored on one engine and headed to \”Home Bay\” on the southwest corner of Pentecost Island.
Good thing I used my head on this one. I\’d thought of trying to free the stuck spinnaker sheet out on the \”high seas\”, good thing I didn\’t! I would have been pummeled under the boat bouncing around in the 6 foot (2 meter) swell.
Home Bay was flat as a pancake. It took 3 minutes to get 90% of the tangle out. I started with snorkel gear. Clearly, it wasn\’t going to be easy for the last 6 inches (15 cm), (is it ever? LOL).
So on went the scuba gear (to the rescue yet again!). I took a 6 mm allen key and removed the bottom screw on the propeller zinc and used a marlin spike to lever out the stuck piece between the front of the propeller hub and the zinc anode. I pulled it out, put the zinc screw back in and away we went. A local pulled up in a handmade canoe, wish I\’d gotten a photo. Anja may have snapped one. He wanted to help! Another local boat went by and waved. Anja was her usual terrific self and handed me the appropriate tools and kept the boat from drifting around.
All in all just another \”sea story\” with a happy ending. My favorite kind!
Pentecost Island is where the original bungee jumpers (vine jumpers) come from. Did you know about these crazies? They jump off a 100 foot (35 meter) tower with a vine around their legs….head first! The idea is to touch the mud at the bottom of the tower with their heads! It\’s a coming of age manhood ritual of some sort. I\’ll stick with the lunnie things I already do, like jump in the ocean to remove tangled lines from propellers!…ha.
54 miles to go, ETA local time around 9pm.