Thursday, July 15, 2010

Shoot the Chute.

From Bill 0030PDT, 32-56, 147-14, speed 8, course 220m.

Around noon yesterday we gave it a try. Boy did we ever. Up went the spinnaker (often called a chute because it is a really big light weight sail that looks a lot like a parachute). It was windy and bumpy, but "What the hell!" we are, after all, out here for adventure. So let'er rip.

It soon became clear that we were in way over our heads and that even with all five crew members in the cockpit doing their best and me still on the foredeck we never did have control over the sail. The only person smiling was Mark who loves to tell tales of sailing disasters that he has participated in. He was clearly gathering data for some story to be told in the future.

We didn't even get the sail launched properly. When I felt that the cockpit crew were ready I started to raise the sock only to have it torn out of my hands and go blasting up into the sky. Once up it was the job of the cockpit crew to get it trimmed, but it never happened. Once or twice we thought we had it but a twisting burst wind would collapse the sail and it would refill suddenly pulling the control of the boat out of the hands of the person at the wheel.

When I had enough of being thrown about and shouted aft that I wanted to take the sail down the command was met with disbelief. A discussion group was formed to determine if they had really heard what they thought they heard. It was decided that "Take down the spinnaker," was unnecessarily vague. A representative was dispatched to inquire if what I really meant was "Douse the chute."

Finally, down she came and we pulled the sail below to repack the sock and sail combination. Ready to go again.

Meanwhile we poke along at 8 knots, or so, with the main all the way out and the jib on a pole to the other side.

A serious half way party took place soon afterward and this has resulted in every single subsequent watch stander (Skipper included) sleeping through his (or her) wakeup call.

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  1. You know, the evening of your arrival when you are all introduced you are going to have one heck of a time deciding which sea story will be the best one to tell. Right now it sounds like it might be the halfway party! We will see you sooner than the race program predicts!
    Kim and Lou

  2. I cannot follow most of what you have described, but I bet it is a real ADVENTURE!! Give my best to all crew members, especially to Rick.

    Alicia Alarcon (Rick's cousin from Colombia)