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SHTP Day 15

Sat 8th July - over halfway DFT!!

I had to wait to celebrate - it was time to change tack onto starboard - that job took from after rollcall until gone midday!! 1)Furl genoa 2)check lines, lower pole and reduce its length for access (telescopic) 3)remember to change spinnaker halyard to port side of everything BEFORE going any further!! 4) re-attach lines, trying to make sure they are all lead correctly & not tangled 5) extend & raise pole - oops, got the downhaul tangled in the genoa sheet, so repeat items 2) & 4) then back to extending/raising pole and adjusting lines to fix pole firmly in place as far aft as possible 6)unfurl genoa and centre main 7) change over main preventer 8)change course and let out main on new tack, tightening up on preventer 9) play about with wheel and Windpilot until all fine on new tack 10)tidy up lines used so far & check lines ready for spinnaker now to be on port side 11) go forward to foredeck and de-bag and disentangle spinnaker & sock lines (thoroughly tangled after last night's difficult windy drop!) & attach guys 12) hoist spinnaker in sock 13) double-check length of guys, raise sock one-third & re-check guy lengths before finishing raising sock 14) adjust guy lengths & check course. Phew!! It's no wonder I thought long and hard before going on to port tack two days ago, knowing I'd have to go through all this again when returning on to starboard tack today! Manouevring the heavy pole on a lurching foredeck (seas are quite big now) with a dodgy (ie loose!) pulpit & lifelines I no longer dare lean on gets pretty interesting at times! Especially the bit about reducing/extending its length (which requires me to stand up) when it seems to get stuck! (Usually because I haven't released a line sufficiently to give enough slack - but don't want the pole crashing about the place as the boat rolls in the seas)
I reckon I could compete quite well with Laurel and Hardy if someone were there to film the palaver! Hilarious!! My main rule is to take my time, THINK and BE SAFE!! (Not so sure about the latter when I find myself slipping sideways on deck sitting on a slippery spinnaker as the boat lurches in swell!)

So then I got to celebrate, with the sun trying to get out and the boat sailing beautifully - this was now breakfast cum lunch! I treated myself to a whole grapefruit before my usual cereal with extra nuts and cranberries and then sat enjoying fresh coffee accompanied by nicely ripe Brie and cheese biscuits - thinking how lucky I was to be out here doing all this!! I opened a couple of 'halfway' presents I'd been given at the start (thank you, Lucy & Ben, and thank you, John - very much appreciated and I look forward to reading it) and realised that so far this passage I'd not even got to starting a single book (not counting instrument manuals!!) - way too busy with other things.

I'm delighted to see that my calculations have proved right - we now have good wind and an excellent wind angle (giving a boatspeed now of 6.4kn in NE winds of ~13kn) and I'm dead on my rhumbline course to the finish line outside Hanalei Bay. Squalls apart, I should be able to relax, just needing to keep an eye on Hermann's steering. I would have liked to have been able to report that I have the option of using the autopilot for more precise steering (could have been useful from a racing - and sleep - point of view) - but it is NOT working, neither have I solved the lights problem, nor have I stopped that 'shallow alarm' beeping. I'm thinking of attaching a cable from the chart table to the course computer 'NMEA out' and putting the input from the GPS antenna to the 'NMEA in' - that might give me both GPS on the instruments and data input to my PC. I must also check the big fuses - maybe that's why the autopilot refuses to work. I think I'll also put back the depth display to see what it reads (was it saying 'shallow' when I disconnected it?) & to see if that stops the 'shallow' beeping on the other instruments. But that can all wait - time for a cockpit snooze in the sun - maybe I'll have a (weak) G&T to celebrate being here....! And later on, I'll maybe cook a chicken masala curry ....or shall I make it Chinese?... decisions...decisions...

(Later - 6.30pm) Just seeing my first sight of a rain shower on the horizon - overcast now. Might actually wash the boat down sometime soon?

At 1600 PDT (GMT-7): 24 02N, 141 14W; DTF 1015n.ml.; actual distance covered (by ship's log) since start: 1594n.ml ETA: overnight 15/16th July ??

Written by : Mike

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