Chance Encounter Day 17: Near Misses
After two days of marginal downwind sailing, Tuesday allowed Chance Encounter to stretch her legs a little with winds between 12 and 16 knots.
A good overnight run started with a couple of good movies ("the man from U.N.C.L.E." and "Dallas Buyer's Club"), and a close, controlled pass behind the boat "Nashorn" - a 49-footer that we've seen a lot of over the past two weeks. Continued good overnight speeds of 7-8knots were maintained until early morning, at which point we docked up a gybe under gennaker and managed to put the pole through the corner of the sail....rookie error! The situation looked irretrievable, however Adrian's sailmaking skills again saved the day and the gennaker was back up by noon.
A beautiful sunny day followed which allowed a little bit of boat cleanup and some fishing. Rigs and Rob were on deck when the indicator line went "thwap!" - a good sized Dorado was on the line and everybody got to their fishing muster stations. However it was not meant to be as the limp looking fish suddenly came to life 20 feet from the boat and spit the hook.
A fish-less but otherwise tasty penne dinner preceded our hairiest incident of the voyage so far. As we gulped down our bowls, a series of squalls came through. Having left the gennaker up we were forced to ride out 23-27knot puffs in the dark under gull-wing configuration. This wasn't ideal, but do-able with all crew at the ready. Unfortunately, the strain was too much for our tweaker (the primary mechanism which controls the windward side of the gennaker under pole), and it blew apart in a puff. This in turn allowed the gennaker sheet to leap up, snag the life ring mount, and rip it off the back of the boat. Mercifully, the pole downhaul was acting as a secondary control and held on, preserving the recently-repaired gennaker. We rode out the rest of the squall on a knife-edge, losing 20 miles to the north until the wind eased enough for us to get the sail down and re-set to a more conservative set up. The crew performed really well under the stress, no one was hurt, and rep
airs can be made with the spares on board. Doug sent off a message to ARC informing the fleet of our wayward life ring and light.
The rest of the evening involved more squall dodging, but good speed and direction towards St. Lucia. This morning we confirmed our original estimate of crossing the finish line sometime late afternoon/evening on Friday. 400 nautical miles left to go!
From the crew of Chance Encounter
Rob, Doug, Rigs, and Adrian