Another day here on PSP logistics and another eventful day. Around 0530 this morning all hands were called to deck to unwrap our heavyweight kite from around the inner forestay. Kite wraps in the dark are a fairly common occurrence and are hard to sort out. Especially when they aren't just wrapped around themselves but some of the rigging as well.
Fortunately we managed to get the kite freed within just a few minutes re woolled and back in the air within the hour. Amongst some of the raised faces was the skipper whose birthday it was today. One of the crew Nigel started singing happy birthday amongst all of the work on the foredeck and it seems that we gave the skipper the biggest present to unwrap; a spinnaker from the inner forestay. This roused much laughter amongst the crew as the joke was cracked. Something the skipper could not help laughing at. It seems therefore right to say that even in the times when the crew is working hard to get the job done we are capable of pulling together and making light of a bad situation. Something that I think will bare prominence further into the race.
Further spinnaker issues arose throughout the day. It seems that some of the quick release pins are not up to the task and lost the clew (the part of the sail that we pull in and let out to trim the sail). This resulted in the lazy sheet flogging that part of the spinnaker into a rather large rip in the same heavyweight kite that we had previously managed to salvage earlier in the day. Spinnakers are one of the best parts of sailing in my opinion. They bring something to sailing that makes the boat feel alive.
They're fast and downwind make our boat speed increase dramatically. However with this comes the need to be constantly trimming and paying attention. The slightest hiccup can end with the boat on its side or worse, another torn spinnaker. As Mark said yesterday our top bodies and minds are on the job of repairing these kites and in some ways we still have a lot to be thankful for. The flogging kite sheet could have easily broken bones so the fact that no one got hurt and that we managed to get the kite down into the boat was a blessing. Furthermore other boats have put far more damage into their kites, two with tears of up to 20 metres which is just a crazy amount of stitching. The repair work is tough work, a needle in a haystack comes to mind when trying to find a 30 cm tear in 300 plus square meters (larger than a tennis court). We're currently using the sail locker as a repair station, which is great as it's got plenty of space. However there is no ventilation, so it's akin to a sauna a lot of the time.
Anyhow enough of kite issues. The boat today has been a hive of activity. Whilst we have no kites we are forced to head slightly more across the wind to keep our boat speed up even if heading off in a slightly different direction. As a result we have had time to regroup and collect our thoughts. Halyards have had chafe protection added to them where required (inlets into the mast and around blocks) pulleys and rollers have been surfaced and we have checked the guard wires to ensure that they are not in any state of disrepair. No one wants a Man over board lets face it.
Freeze dry was the choice of dinner tonight. Chicken curry or at least a derivative of chicken curry was the order of the day which has actually been one of the favourite freeze dry meals so far.
Its ten minutes to nine as I write this and Madeira is around 79 miles off our port bow. It'll be good to get past here as it feels like this will be a waypoint for us as a crew. Hopefully tomorrow will bring better fortune not just for us but other boats out there as well.