Hello land people, I hope you are very well! We've been better, I can't deny, but with high spirits anyway, life is a gift, and we can't complain. We are doing what we love. In Uruguay, we say ‘La Alegría vapor barrios' and looks like now it's our time to pay some bad luck.
Unfortunately, yesterday our lower mast track section (where the main sail slots into) detached from the mast, uhhhh. For some reason unknown, as we haven't done anything differently, the rivets have worked loose. This meant we had to put in Reef 3 to depower any strength working there to avoid making it worse. So, conclusion: we can't shake Reef 3 out. Super conclusion: we are going slow and not being able to fly spinnakers as you don't have enough main sail to shadow the spinnaker to depower her, in case we need to put her down. And you all know, we are very competitive, but safety is not negotiable. The good thing is that we are safe (and slow) but luckily, we noticed it was coming out as we were reefing so we went straight into Reef 3 to make sure we didn't get trapped with a lot of sail up there and avoid further damage. [Editor's note: All yachts undergo a full rig inspection in port pre departure.]
We are waiting for the wind to ease, maybe in two more days to make this repair. We have all the tools, the skills, and the motivation to do it so we can start racing again. Everything happens for a reason, and although we're disappointed, things always could be worse at sea, so we feel lucky we are all happy on board.
So, if you were asking yourself, what's going on with us, why we are not sending it? Well, because of that! On the bright side, the Punta School of Helming is open, and everyone is enjoying some surfing down the big waves we have here. The crew is getting used to life at sea, although some of our crews are seasick but its common not to feel 100% the first couple of days, soon their land-human bodies will start getting used to the rolling seas and adapt.
Ahh, you will like this one: last night under Code 3 spinnaker the active sheet strop snapped (so no active sheet) and we had a situation I've never seen before, the retrieval sheet (the only one left) got tangled in the inner forestay and we couldn't use it to drop the spinnaker down. During this, I was doing a risk assessment of all the options. We had to drop her quickly, as she was collapsing heavily, and the wind was picking up fast. If we had blown the tack, all the pressure was going to end up working sideways on the inner forestay and could have meant serious damage and I wouldn't have the spinnaker attached to the bow to retrieve her in case I needed to drop her in the water.
So instead, I decided to ease the halyard a couple of meters to depower the spinnaker and give us some slack to pull/vibrate the retrieval until the knot finally came untangled and we went for a normal drop after Angus pulled on the trip lineto release the tack of the kite. Just in case this didn't work, I had Plan B and Plan C working in progress. Plan B was to drop the spinnaker all in the water, as the wind was picking up fast and we could end up in a serious situation. For Plan B to work, I had to call our first 'all hands on deck' in 11,000 nm. We didn't really need everyone yet, but in ocean sailing, you need to be one step ahead, so I wanted to have the entire team ready in case I needed to activate Plan B, but no need as Plan A worked and the spinnaker was down without a scratch. Plan C was our superstar Angus Cabeza Blanca in a harness and a knife in his teeth to cut that retrieval while an 8-foot albatross crossed with the white shark was flying around, naahh I'm joking! Anyway, thanks guardian angels for that!
So, we are having fun out here, not winning at all, but UB40 is sounding in the nav, and soon or later we will arrive at the land down under.
Nano, Angus, and the Punta track rivets riders