Close Call

Saturday 21 September 2013
CATEGORY: Expedition
TAGS: Sailing

Again truly exhausting 24 hours (I start to think that I use this term a
bit too often).
Our newly found racing spirit starts to show dividends – the last day and a
half have seen us racing with a commitment as never before. All sail
changes are executed with efficiency and one can hear all day and night the
noise of the grinders to optimise our sail trim. At the same time it has
been champagne sailing with perfect conditions, as northeasterly tradewinds
are pushing us towards Rio. We are flying our second biggest spinnaker,
Code 2, which can withstand up to 20knots of apparent wind. The focus on
trimming and course has led us back into the race. In the last 18 hours we
have made good 26nm on Jamaica and close to 50nm on PSP. Its currently a
race to the doldrums, where it seems a particular favourable path is
opening on Sep 22. This is our chance to turn this race around.
I started my mother duty this morning – as mentioned earlier on for one day
I have to administer and provide all the meals and drinks on board, as well
as clean the boat. Together with Ralf, we started around 2am with making
bread rolls. It helps that Ralf (see picture) is a baker by profession,
which lets his breadrolls become excellent. However having to bake 88 rolls
in an oven that at any one time only fits 14 rolls is quite a challenge….
otherwise its an endless slog of cooking, making drinks, endless amounts of
dishes to wash, cleaning floorboards and just when you think you have a bit
of air, the next meal is there to prepare – 19 hours of non-stop stress.
We are not helped by the heat that is now crushing down on the boat – in
our galley it has temperatures from 35 degrees and above… I am honestly
melting, while cooking.

Then at 6am a shout from above: “Rope around the rudder!” – during the
night one of the sheets (ropes) that hold down the spinnaker has come loose
– its trailing in the water and has somehow entangled itself around the
rudder! Pulling etc doesnt get it free 🙁 We are currently surfing with
more than 13knots the waves of the Atlantic and stopping to get the rope
untangled is an option we want to avoid at all costs – it would mean
stopping the boat and probably cost us at least 3 hours of progress.
To solve the problem I am called on deck to try to shoot a picture of the
rudder with my Go Pro camera. We rig the camera on the boathook, tie it
with ropes and ducktape on, and enable the mode to live transmit the
picture to my iphone.
It takes immense force to hold onto the pole when I put it into the water
to see whats going on at the rudder – the foce of 13kt water is trying to
pull it away from us. But after more then 15minutes of playing around we
get the pictures we were after. While the Wifi mode doesn’t work under
water, it is possible to evaluate the video I took, and there its visible
how the rope is caught (see picture)
Skipper Vicky sets up a few winches accordingly and half an hour later we
are fully free again! The hunt can go on….

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