Because we are using our sails more they are getting more of a workout. We have to watch for chafe such as when the sail might rub up against part of the rigging for extended periods of time and begin to wear. This requires putting chafe protection (usually some type of sailors leather) on the chafing culprit and some extra material on the part of the sail that is also rubbing. Because we are sailing so much more we are also having the opportunity to use our screecher and spinnaker so much more which is great fun. They allow us to sail either almost (screecher) or dead (spinnaker) downwind. They are much bigger and lighter weight sails and as such can be exciting to handle and are fun to sail. The screecher is on a rolling furler so that means that we just hoist it, unroll it to use it and roll it up when we are done. But a few nights ago, when rolling it up the wind caught it and twisted it so that we could not unfurl it or roll it up all the way. Fortunately we were able to get it mostly rolled up and took it down. The next day we tried to unfurl it by hoisting it and working out the twist in lighter winds to no avail. So yesterday morning, sitting on the trampoline, I spent most of the morning manually unrolling it to get the twist out. That's a lot of canvas to handle! All done and we've been using it pretty much ever since -- and have even successfully furled it a few times.
The other sail fun we had was hoisting our spinnaker. Spinnakers (particularly racing spinnakers (which we don't have; we have a cruising spinnaker)) can be be a lot to handle. They catch the wind and then boom they are out of control blowing in the wind. Ours comes in a sock (or sleeve). You hoist the spinnaker in the sock and once up, using a line attached to the top of the spinnaker and the bottom of the sock you hoist the sock and perfecto the spinnaker is flying. Yesterday, as we hoisted the spinnaker and had it about have way up, the wind caught the bottom of the spinnaker that was not in the sock and caused the sock to go up (taking the line that controls the sock with it!) and open the spinnaker. $*(#@&@^! Now, how to get it down? Can't reach the line that controls the sock to pull it down and its a huge sail pulling the boat forward at 6-7 knots. Can't leave it for later (I could have gotten the sail all the way up but still no way to get it down) since if we needed to get it down in a hurry that would be a problem. So, we pulled out the jib which helped to blanket the spinnaker and take some of the wind out of it released one of the spinnaker sheets grabbed the other sheet and quickly released the halyard. Releasing the halyard and one of the sheets basically released all the wind from the sail and we quickly pulled all the sail on deck (like 5 seconds quick) so that none would fall in the water. It all worked as planned and is pretty much standard operating procedure for dousing a racing spinnaker, but my kids thought it was totally cool!
Interestingly, with all this downwind sailing we have not used our mainsail much. It tends to flop around a lot because it is so heavy and also blankets our downwind sails. Plus we've generally been making good speed without it.
Day 8 also found us getting ready for Passover. And as such, Barb wanted to make chicken soup! Simple right? But everything on a boat can expand into a big project. And this was just one such case. You see, the chicken we needed was at the bottom of our freezer. The freezer has no shelves so everything is stacked in tight. When we bought all our meat it was not fully frozen so we packed it in the freezer very efficiently (not one spare space was leftover) with the cut chicken at the bottom. Since the freezer has been working real well (thankfully) everything was totally frozen solid to each other which made getting that chicken out next to impossible. It was frozen to the sides and to the meat around it. So, this project required us to come close to nearly defrosting the entire freezer (in the middle of the ocean) and stowing meet as we pulled it out into cooler bags to finally pry that chicken out. And we did! I am looking forward to some great chicken soup after that exercise!
Michael (somewhere in the middle of the Pacific near the halfway point)
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Day 8 Stats (by Barb):
Distance: 105 miles (slow day); Total trip: 1229 miles; Average daily: 154 miles
Average Speed: 4.4 knots; Average overall speed: 6.4 knots
Sea Conditions: Pleasant; 4-6 foot long period swells coming from behind which means we are riding them nicely; some sun, some overcast; NNE winds about 10-12 knots
Incident Report: Waged war on the freezer to try to extract a cut up chicken. It took all afternoon. Thank goodness for a couple of large cooler bags which held all the meat that could be removed from the freezer while we waited for the chickens to thaw slightly so they could be removed. Then, once extracted thanks to my hero Michael, we had a tough time fitting everything back in. You see, everything was packed in there when they were raw, so fit in nicely, but now that it's all frozen solid, it's hard to get everything to fit back in. Also, Michael untangled the asymmetrical sail and it is working nicely. Finally, when we were hoisting the spinnaker sail, the wind caught the 'sock' so that the sail filled with wind but we lost the line that controls when the sock gets dropped again. We had to figure out how to bring it back in, and eventually succeeded.
Fish caught: Zero still -- not trying at this point.
Produce Inventory: Still way too many avocados. Peaches are getting overripe just in time for an apple peach cake for the seder tonight. Everything else holding nicely - still 11 firm tomatoes, an orange pepper, two green peppers, plenty of lettuce, 8 cucumbers, half a head of broccoli, 6 plums, 2 mangoes, 12 kiwi, 1 small watermelon (for our equator party!), not to mention lots of carrots, celery, potatoes, onions, jicama, 2 cabbages.
Meals/Snacks: Breakfast was regular cereal and toast (it's getting close to Passover). Morning snack was a banana and strawberry smoothie with fresh squeezed OJ. Lunch was leftover curry chicken and veggies for Michael while the rest had nachos with cheese, beans and guacamole. Dinner was Ichiban (Ramen) noodle soup with tofu and broccoli. This is a favorite around here - and perfect for the night before Passvoer!!
At 4/18/2011 13:27 (utc) our position was 10°12.40'N 123°57.59'W