It had been a fantastic days sailing on relatively calm seas with full main and asymmetric spinnaker- this was the longest this sail had been flown in a single session - fantastic!
As a standard practice with sailing over night with a spinnaker I always drop them prior to night fall to check for halyard chafe and then re hoist as i want to reduce the chance of misadventures at night!. Today would be no different and after dinner just as the sun was setting we furled the spinnaker and tried to drop it to check for wear... It dropped about 1 meter and then was stuck - well stuck.... no up or down!
There was no option but to go up the mast and as light was fading fast time was critical. In retrospect it was probably a good thing as we had no time to think about what could go wrong!
Colin soon had hoisted me to the mast head and it was clear to see that the halyard had jumped off the mast head block and was jammed solid between the sheeve and block case.
To cut a long story short I was able to release the spinnaker and colin expertly gathered it on the foredeck before it had a chance of going in the water and under the boat. The halyard was recovered to deck level but another trip up the mast would be required to replace the mast head block before the halyard would be serviceable again - and I don't plan to go up the mast again at sea as I now have bruises in places iI did not know could bruise! I am glad that the sea state had been relatively calm as movement at the mast head made life interesting to say the least!
however I must admit the view of Devona a mile of so astern of us silhouetted against the evening sky was spectacular - shame i had no time to enjoy the view nor a camera
Back on deck we hoisted the spinnaker and the 2nd halyard as we wre determined to keep Devona behind us- sadly this was not to be but we were within a couple of mile for the rest of the night