Thursday 12th November 2009 - We survive a near-disaster .. what a nightmare...!! I had to doublecheck it wasn't Friday 13th...!!! (oh, oh...that's tomorrow!!)
I was stowing away pole and lines I'd used overnight .. and spotted a metal washer on deck, at the mast-foot (where yesterday I'd found a small split pin, but couldn't see where it had come from). Looked at gooseneck (connection between mast and boom)- it was almost apart...!!! The split pin was from the end of a clevis pin whose job was to hold the boom and gooseneck together and the washer was from there also. The clevis pin going through the centre of the gooseneck had worked its way completely out of one side of the fitting - and the boom and sail were about to part company with the mast...... gulp!! "Trying hard not to panic".....!!..... I went down to fetch a hammer to bang the clevis pin back into place - but the pin was off to one side of hole due to pressure of wind in sail and so wouldn't budge.
I headed upwind with furled foresail, downed the mains'l partway.... persuaded (ie hammered!)the clevis pin back into the hole - with pressure on it eased, it was actually fairly easy - and then fitted a new split pin. ( I have lots of spares... but only found one of the exact right size...It's surprisingly small for such a major item of rigging)
That was all too close for comfort to being a disaster ....!!
When I was about to raise the mains'l again, I spotted more chafe... on the first reef line ... had to cut a length off and re-tie around boom. I think the material of the sail is so hard, it's causing some of this chafe problem. And finally (!), as I was checking around the mast, I pulled on the slack 2nd reef line - to find it wasn't attached to sail! - My knot of some days ago was clearly of the 'slippery' kind ...(I can't believe that...!)! Lowered mains'l again... re-did the knot - making sure, this time that I tied it correctly....
And I thought today was going to be one of relaxation.... ! ... I'd got out my still-wrapped-in-cellophane new edition of 'Heavy Weather Sailing', thinking I'd find plenty of use in it - and there I spotted 'Berrimilla' - my 'sailing companions' of the last 2-3 weeks (They're presently about 450 mls north of 'Nereida', still in good wind as they also head south and hoping to avoid the high pressure I got trapped in.) I even know what 'Berrimilla' looks like now....! Now there's a couple of guys with heavy weather sailing (and racing) experience...!!
I imagine Groupama 3 are getting fairly close to being well west of my position ... would be interesting to see their route.
We're moving much better today - there's been a fair wind (WNW4, 10-14 kn), so none of the slapping of sails as we flop about as there was all day yesterday. Still in the high pressure area but a bit of a trough/several small lows are complicating things.
I shall sign off and have a mug of tea - I need to relax more...!!
DMG to noon today: 62M
Distance at noon to Cape of Good Hope: 2224 M