How are we doing this ‘Mother of all wraps’ Monday? Ready to start the week all fired-up to deal with new challenges and opportunities? This end, we didn’t necessarily need to be all fired up, we were just presented with one.
After having rounded VM Knight (Good Morning Julian, hope all is well with you Sir?) We had dealt with the transition of weather from the southerly winds, to the north easterlies in a fairly acceptable manner, holding our position in the six hourly reported positions, and closing the gaps to the boats to our front. ‘Sounders’ had made the switch from the Yankee 1 to the Kite and had successfully navigated through an area of longline net fishing. Then at watch change over, all our wind instruments cut out. We plough into the night and even more longline net fishing activity, with the wind increasing, that was known by increased boat speed and sea state. With more and more nets appearing in front of us and no wind instruments, what could go wrong.
A few hours later, having just fallen asleep I hear a voice. “David, we have a bit of wrap with the spinnaker.” Lauren had been sent to tell me the good news. Life jacket on, out of bunk, then up on deck and my immediate reaction was that “We have a bit of a wrap with the spinnaker” was on par with the understatement from Apollo 13, “Houston we have a problem.” So did we. On a scale of 1 to 10 of spinnaker wraps, this was a grade a - 10! The kite, had come in from behind the anti-wrap net, then wrapped itself around the inner forestay, completely, minus about four metres of it which made a shape of a bulbous eye, that winked at us, saying, “Look how clever I am, bet you can’t untie me quickly.” Yes, Code 3 was completely correct. After a four hour battle a temporary truce was called for some breakfast and regroup. Even having had Gregorio aloft for nearly 2 hours, we weren’t any further forward, solving the problem and most definitely further behind in the Race Standings as when I came into the nav station to check on position etc, I saw Dare To Lead on the AIS, firmly in front of us. I did call Guy up for a quick chat, not expecting any empathy and I was quite correct, I didn’t get any, but all the same it was good to talk and hear a voice from outside our own planet.
The major plan was to have a cup of tea and a rethink. That worked and phase two of the operation sprang into action. Once more, aided by some grinding, Gregorio defied gravity and was hoisted aloft and we retrieved the halyard from the wrap net, as the anti-wrap net was wrapped into the wrap – now you couldn’t have written that. After that, it was Alec’s turn to go aloft and return to deck with the spinnaker halyard. Meanwhile, the Code 3 continued to look down with its ‘all seeing one eye’ winking at us, challenging us to try and tame it. We had a plan, a down haul had been put in place by Alec when he removed the halyard, slipped it on without the ‘all seeing eye’ clocking what had occurred. Then we gybed, and suddenly the pressure was in a different place, and the eye began to disappear as the kite slowly slipped down the inner forestay, but thankfully not much; the head was at deck level. ‘Number 1’, Mauricio, Alec and myself leapt at it, and bound it quickly with sails, securing it tightly, so it could not self harm in its moment of defeat, by continuing to flog itself against the inner forestay. Then the kettle went on again. With Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam nearby, I called them up, to ask the current wind speed. Josh informed me that it was 30kts and suggested the best way to deal with a spinnaker wrap was to have a cup of tea. I was quite pleased with myself, as I had said to ‘Number 1’, “I bet it's 28kts”.
All that is required now is a windhole, so that we can unwrap it fully from the innerstay. A few hours more work then and hopefully not too much damage. Now, where could we find a windhole near here? Oh wait a minute, is that VM Massey just 184nm miles away? Look, there on the west coast of Luzon, you never know there might be some light winds down there somewhere. That's all for now,
Dave and ‘Number 1’