We get knocked down but we get up again!
Lady luck has given us a tough ride over the last couple of days and caused us to make tactical decisions which have not helped our overall standing but have kept us in one piece and we will, hopefully, soon be able pick up the pace again.
After the problems incurred on the first day of the race, the spinnaker continued to be our bane.
The first call of "all hands on deck!" came when my watch (group we are split into )Port Watch were trying the catch that elusive commodity on any race boat : Sleep.
The spinnaker halyard had given and the sail had collapsed into the water, fortunately this was recovered without any major problems but we were one more halyard down. With the spinnaker raised again and the wind picking up, we started to make great speed as we forged away forward trying to make up for lost time with some aggressive sailing, hitting speeds of 21 knots.
All was good and we powered on until around 2am and then it was Starboard watch's turn to hear the " All hands on deck!" The fear of running a spinnaker fast in increasing winds was realised with the dreaded "Spinnaker Wrap" this is where a slight deviation in wind or boat direction causes the sail to collapse, this is countered by trimming the sail on a winch ,but unknown to us we had a riding turn on the winch, where the rope rides over itself , so the situation could not be rectified.
This left the sail flapping in the wind and it rapidly wrapped itself around the inner fore stay and the staysail halyard. Despite over two hours of exhausting efforts battling against wind and swell trying to untangle the sail we had to admit defeat, change course to find lighter winds and look at it in the morning.
Lighter winds - what lighter winds! The wind continued to pick up leaving us unable to attend to the problem and left us to concentrate on sailing with what we had. Gusts of up to 49 knots and 7 foot swells made for a dramatic day and our first experience of green water - where a wave comes clean over the deck of the boat.
As is practice we are clipped on at all times and the necessity of this was proved when John Regan was swept all the way down the starboard side of the boat and left dangling in the water, fortunately he suffered no injury but got the shock of his life.
Currently we are keeping our course and hoping to attend to the wrapped spinnaker tomorrow.
Simon Aram aboard Old Pulteney