Perhaps we’d been relishing our leisurely sailing journey too much, so Rapture decided to put us through our paces today. Winds built to a steady 20 knots with gusts up to 25 knots. Friendly following seas climbed a bit larger than their predicted three meter height. No worries, we will reef the twin headsails, and keep the mainsail at it’s second reef. When Greg and Susan tried to furl in the headsails, nothing, nada, no movement. I was napping on the setee of course, relaxing after a fun morning workout that required me to self-gimble push-ups and sit ups. The captain went up on the foredeck and I popped my head through the fore hatch to see if I could help.
Greg sat facing the furling drum, flanked on either side by heavily eased headsails, our only option to keep us from being overpowered. I passed him various sizes and types of screwdrivers through the hatch, Greg handed back the outer casing for the furler. Then Susan joined alongside him and helped feed the furling line around the drum. “There’s a huge white thing on starboard!” shouts Diane from the cockpit. A what? We searched the turquoise cresting waves and a brilliant swimming white belly zoomed past us. It looked to be 20 feet long. Following this fellow mammal’s acrobatics was a welcome distraction from the monotonous waiting game of Greg rewrapping, then unwrapping and rewrapping again the furling line. Small flying fish burst from the sea surface and the white bellied creature danced behind to catch them. The beast blew its blowhole finally and gave me a wink, it was an adolescent humpback whale I think.
We regrouped in the cockpit to try the furler but it didn’t budge. Greg outlined what we needed to do, take down the poles, bring both headsails to one side, bring the headsails on the deck and tie them down tight. We clipped in to the jack lines and set to work, everyone taking care to stay on the boat in the heaving seas. Luckily it was day light. Finally we had the poles secured and the smaller jib tied down on deck. Everyone worked together well, calm cool and collected. We raised the larger jib and took a break. Greg turned on the SSB radio for his daily chat with captain John on S/V Tango and relayed our furler situation. John recommended we tighten the jib halyard extra tight to unstick the drum. Indeed John, that was the ticket. We were already mentally preparing for the coming two weeks of taking down the jib on deck when we needed to reduce sail area, which would at least be a few times a day or night. I was so grateful to see the jib spin around and reef into its proper place. THANK YOU CAPTAIN JOHN.
The drum is still a bit sticky, but its working. We will continue to unravel its mysteries tomorrow. For this evening, we enjoyed yet another lovely sunset dinner. Greg, relieved at the outcome of today’s adventures, regaled us with near death experiences that involved large wild animals charging him (black rhino) or him and Susan (grizzly bear).
As my buddy Ron says, it’s all practice.