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Air Power - Feb 25

Strange noises are something you always be alert for, especially at sea. Fire crackers normally don't draw an eye raise on 4th of July, New Years etc. Heck, even guns fired in the air in the rural sections of the South. In the Middle East, they are usually encouraged during weddings and other festivities.

A gennaker sail can make loud cracking noises whenever the wind gets in front of sail, it starts to collapse, then re-inflates. (Crack!!! like lightening) During the daytime you can see it. You don't like it, but it happens. We knew we had a line chaffing leading from the "guy" to the tack on the bottom corner of the sail. We figured, when it let loose, we would take the sail in and replace it with a spare one. (We have several pre-made). So, it was not a matter of if, but when was this small line holding 1/3 of the sail in place going to fail. Well, about 10:30 that night, there was such a loud POW!!!) like you see on the Batman TV series. You would have thought we were hit by a fallen meteor. When I looked up from the helm, (I was reading Moby Dick on a Kindle, so I no night vision, due to the reading light attached to it), there was no sail in front of us. This huge, huge sail had completely vaporized before my eyes. I woke Jill up, to tell her the gennaker was gone, and we would never be able to find it in the night. Once we got the jib out and pointing us down wind again, we started to clean up the deck of these useless unwanted sheets (lines that attach to a sail, that is no longer there). And behold, they held the other to corners of the sail. The problem was, the failure was at the top of the mast, in the same location we had work done on in Santa Marta, Columbia. The block/swivel the sail shop had inserted snapped in half. So the sail blew out in front of the boat, which we quickly ran over it. The line that primarily kept the sail attached to the boat, with all the strain on it, was attached to the "guy" and was expected to fail. After about an hour and a half, we recovered the sail without any further damage. We did fix it the following day with a spare Pelican Hook on a swivel, and we are currently using the gennaker at the moment. As Capt Ron says, "if something is going to happen, it will happen out there". Capt Dave says, "If something is going to happen, it will be at night, on my watch".

Dave & Jill

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