Aquavita - Day 17 birthday conundrum
For Elke's birthday today we had delicious barbequed pork ribs and vegetable stir fry for lunch. Elke taught me her favorite cake recipe, together we made a nice chocolate cake. Elke was going to put the finishing touches to it, then refrigerate it for an hour before it's ready.
Then something happened...
In the late afternoon the wind direction changed. The captain decided to take down the Code 0 and replace it with the blister for downwind sailing. After the Code 0 was rolled in, we found we couldn't pull down the halyard holding the Code 0. It was badly twisted. No matter how hard the two strong men pulled with all their weight, the halyard was stuck inside the mast and not moving.
Everyone came up to help in the darkness, after putting on lifevests first. I held the torch to shine at the top of the halyard, showing how the looped halyard was twisted. The men holding the Code 0 at the bottom tried to untwist the loops but it didn't work. Jason was passing messages back and forth. Elke studied the situation and asked me to untie the end of the halyard so she could pull it out. She then started untwisting the rope before it disappears into the mast. The two men pulled with all their might with each untwisted inch of rope feeding into the mast. It seemed to work, first half a meter, then a meter, slowly the halyard came down. Elke solved a difficult conundrum on her birthday, earning a thumbs up from everyone. Even without the cake and birthday song, I think she was content with the outcome.
The wind was 13 knots, skies were cloudy but no rain, we could even see a few stars and the moon moving between clouds. If we were in conditions like yesterday in 30 knot wind and pouring rain, there's no way we could perform this operation to pull the blister down. The blister would be hanging in the wind and swinging in its sock, either torn away or worse, crashing into the forestay of the jib and damaging both sails. Then we would be in real trouble with no forward propulsion sails to get us to the destination efficiently. That thought gave us all shudders. We were grateful that this happened today on a balmy evening, not in the fierce storm yesterday. But this design fault of the looped halyard has to be sorted out.