Here on Qingdao we have formed a rather close bond with our heavy weight spinnaker. Let me explain.
A couple of days ago she got tangled, torn and dropped into the sea. Luckily she was rescued and brought below deck. On assessment she was pronounced to be in a critical condition and our sail repair team - Keith and Frankie got out the kit and sewing machine and set to work.
The task proved to be rather large for two people, so to ensure that we could work round the clock and across the two watches, other members of the crew were given a crash course in sail repair. Erika, Vicky, Rob, Mel, Liz, Guy and I have now learnt this new skill while the boat rocked and rolled south to Rio.
Sharing our small living area that spinnaker, under repair, became a labour of love. A new kite that has been dunked in the sea and then brought below deck in the galley adds a new smell to the existing large variety of olfactory stimulants that are so unfamiliar to novice sailors, like myself.
During the repair process we formed an attachment to our kite. Even our skipper, Gareth, helped patch her together. I noticed that during the time we were repairing the sail we were working towards a common goal which helped the "bonding" process between the crew members and although it was a labour intensive task, it created lots of banter and a great team spirit.
We finally checked every inch of the spinnaker, to ensure that we'd done a thorough job and yesterday, a day after repairs began, we wooled her up and packed her away. We are waiting in anticipation for favourable kite winds to see her fly once again!