Crew aboard – Christian (Skipper), Pete (First Mate), Louise, George, Tristan, Florence & Elyse
Our second 24hrs proved to be extremely exciting. After a whopping 228nm and winds up to 40 knots we saw winds ease to a more relaxing 25 knots and the sea state also improved making for easier steering and sleeping while off watch.
There have been a few moments when it was clear from the very slightly ‘mad’ laughing fits from Florence and Elyse for absolutely no reason at all that sleep deprivation may have been becoming an issue. Fortunately with calmer conditions this will now be rectified as they were a little like a couple of witches casting a spell. Just after lunch with the conditions improved we hoisted the S4 which is a fairly heavy duty spinnaker. Still about 4 times to size of the poled out jib we had been using and so naturally Quokka took off, surfing down waves, hitting 12-15 knots fairly effortlessly. Within about an hour of having the S4 up, the wind went forward so we were struggling to hold our course. We eased the pole forwards and maintained a reasonable course trying not to load the boat up too much. All was well until a load band when the pole track gave way and the pole broke away from the track…….
I called for all hands on deck and we removed to pole and dropped the spinnaker. Within about 6-8 minutes we were sailing again under mainsail only. It was quite a surprise to break the pole track in only 20 knots of wind and the only conclusion we can come to was that we had the pole too far back which was putting sideways compression on the track – we are investigating remotely with Selden the rig manufacturer. In light of this and the fact we still need to sail downwind we decided to hoist the A3 which is an asymmetric spinnaker. Once up again Quokka was flying down waves at great speed and heading towards St Lucia. We also hoisted the new spinnaker wrap net which is a criss-cross of webbing hoisted like a job which stops the spinnaker from wrapping.
By 1600UTC the wind had increased a little and we had a fairly large squall ahead of us. Dark clouds and rain were visible, so we decided to alter course to the North to avoid it. Without warning the tylasker snap shackle gave way on the working sheet and in the violent flog of the sail so too did the lazy sheet. The spinnaker was now flogging in front of the boat with no sheets attached. Tristan and I ran forward to the foredeck and Florence steered the boat downwind to reduce the loads as much as possible, while Louise lowered the Halyard. We almost had all the kite on the foredeck when a gust took it and it ripped in my hands We managed to recover it fairly quickly after this and the good news was that the tear was relatively small and easy to fix, but only once we are ashore.
We had been repairing a small tear in the head of the jib by stitching webbing over the tear which was now complete so we were able to re hoist the jib. This got our speed back up but we were unable to steer our desired course of 260 degrees and were having to steer more 310 degrees with the wind direction and sail plan. A little frustrating as we now had to watch several race yachts that we had been leading move ahead. The only consolation was that they are much faster boats and should have already been ahead of us.
A fairly busy day, but the chicken thai curry for dinner was a nice reward for the hard work and as ant experienced sailor knows it’s how you deal with the dramas that make you a good sailor and today the crew of Quokka did a great job!
That’s it for now, look forward to updating you all tomorrow.