The wind went east yesterday meaning it was hard for us to stay on our rhumb line. Cruisers love rhumb lines and do their utmost to stick to them. It’s only racers who go veering off course chasing speed – nine out of ten times they are of course dead right but we shall not be distracted! So we sat there mulling on how best to hug our rhumb line.
Time for a gybe! Given we were goose-winging that means lowering the pole and hoisting it again on the opposite side. It all sounds so easy on paper. But the foredeck is like a wobble board on steroids, our spinnaker pole is heavy and there are all sorts of lines to be dealt with that you need to ensure don’t cross over: two sets of spinnaker sheets, two sets of guys, genoa sheets, stay sail sheets, downhaul, uphaul, preventer lines. And you have to remind yourself your brain is not functioning on all cylinders given the sleep patterns. We do our usual and discuss the manoeuvre then don lifejackets and wobble our way up to the foredeck as the waves have their merry way. “Ok ease the guy. Perfect – keep it coming. Ok – stop”. Susie does the cockpit and mast while Tom manages the bow. You work with one hand and the other hand you use to hold onto the boat. “Is that genoa sheet on the wrong side?” We’ve learnt to cross-check everything or pay the price. Some days it’s seamless, other days lines just keep crossing over. Eventually you stagger back to the cockpit, grab a bottle of water, and give each other a pat on the back – even if you’ve messed it up!
We’d noticed that Princess Towable Water Generator was no longer bringing in any power – time for her to come in to be checked. Out the back stretches a long piece of line ending in a shaft with a propeller spinning away. To bring it in you need to stop the propeller spinning. So you tie what looks like a large cut-off funnel around the line by the boat and send it down the line where it traps the propeller. Only thing is the wind is blowing in the opposite direction of the route you want to send the funnel. Every time you push the little funnel down the line it blows right back at you! You need to get it submerged in the water and then you’re fine. Just the wind won’t let it happen – push it away, back it blows. It’s like being at a fair ground where you have to perfectly time something to win a teddy bear. If the sea had been a fairground it would have taken a lot of money off us with all our attempts and when we finally got it submerged there was no teddy bear. Although we will say for all those rumours that sharks chase towable propellers – there were some very teeth-like marks on the shaft! We suspect teddy got eaten by a shark!
After checking various things in the end we discovered the problem was a faulty wire connection – there had been some corrosion in the plug and the negative wire had come loose. Susie has become a lady who loves electrical connections so she sat happily for an hour fixing it with much love and care.
One highlight of the day was being approached by fishermen on an old fishing boat. We have been warned we will get many of them on our approach to Sri Lanka and that they usually want to trade but this was miles out. They followed us waving and we waved back and then seeing we were not stopping they suddenly turned and disappeared.
As we meandered off our rhumb line, the winds dropped to 10-16 knots and it was a no-brainer – bring on the spinnaker. Remove pole, prepare parasailor, hoist! Life becomes better instantly, Adina is more stable, we sleep better. We flew the parasailor throughout the night and, bar the odd small squall where your eyes widen somewhat, all went well. We had company in the form of a tanker behind us going at 8.5 knots and given we were regularly doing 6-7 knots it took a long time for him to haul us in but we were grateful the Iraq bound boat changed course to give us a wide berth.
158 nautical miles for the day, a bit lower as expected but still good mileage and we now have 240 nautical miles to go to Galle. Some lighter winds ahead so hard to call our arrival time but we think Monday night so we will heave-to or anchor outside the port to wait for daylight. Have a good day – the Wobbles of Yacht Adina are we…