June 19, 2010
39,59.06N 070 16.03W
Saturday 6/19 0400
We’ve had great sailing all afternoon and through Friday night. We’re still on starboard tack, close reaching with the Code 0 headsail. We’ve been making 8-9 knots all night, under perfectly clear skies. As the half moon set, the Milky Way took it’s place, providing enough star light to see and trim the sails almost completely without flashlights.
Given the calm seas and cooperative wind, we’ve had it easy so far, just really nice sailing. But you never get away scott free on the open ocean. In the words of the great sailing skipper Captain Ron, “If it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen out here”; it has indeed happened. Our first challenge of this race occured when we hoisted the Code 0 and the halyard broke. This particular halyard has a lock at the top, so what would ordinarily be a fairly simple situation becase a bit more complex. The broken halyard came down, out of the mast, to the deck, while the sail stay up – it had locked into place as it was designed to do.
So we’re now sailing with a Code 0 locked to the top of the mast and no way to take it down. With over 600 miles still to go to Bermuda, this was a problem we had to fix.
As the sun set, Kit was sent up the mast to see what he could do to alleviate our situation. After a half-hour, he had lashed the sail to the mast, so we put the bow down to take the pressure off the sail, and he was able to remove it from the lock fitting. Kit came back to the deck, and we’ve sailed through the night with the Code 0 lashed to the top of the mast. This is a major improvement as we know we can send someone back up the mast to cut it down if needed (the lock is a metal fitting we couldn’t have cut). Kit will be going back up in the morning to re-rig the halyard and put the sail back on it to complete the fix. The good news is the Code 0 has been the right sail to have up all night so this hasn’t cost us anything on the race. So far so good.