The champagne is gone, the bottle must have broke.
Cruising along comfortably and its time for breakfast and we know we are going have to change directions a bit today with the rain clouds all around and gray skies everywhere, there was bound to be action. So a big breakfast was necessary..
Once again enter Mr Jimmy Dean! Dangerously low now, but at least the customs office won’t get to confiscate the treasure. A nice big breakfast of Texas Migas (well some Malaysian chips for tortilla chips), Jimmy of course and anything else that sounded like Migas that needed to be used before arrival. Yum.. served over Fijian tortilla – close as it gets out here.
Gray clouds, everything is gray. Gone are the blues of the pacific, just grays. Some darker than the rest, those dark ones are dropping water from the sky so avoid them. Rain means a wind shift of some sorts. We were getting set to Jibe through all the gray and trying to avoid the rain droppers to cut across and minimize our time being wet.
There were 3 other boats on our make shift AIS setup that we could see. Also navigating the maze of thunder showers. Visually I spotted what looked like a good opportunity to cut behind a thundershower that just passed but infront of the next one back. Was patiently waiting, and waiting on the passing shower to go by. Taking forever. Hmm. Radar alarm goes off. Go check the radar, sombiotch. That thing is huge, 6 miles long and at least 2 miles deep. Well lets just slow down some and let it pass faster. Bearing away a bit to give us more time. Well the thing gets closer and closer, what was 6 miles from us was now getting closer to 3 miles. Okay, lets just drop the sails and let it do its thing, we’ll motor across.
Roll the foresail (jib) no worries. Turn into the wind to drop the main, now the wind is kicking upper 20s, mainsail get stuck on the way down. First time since we’ve owned the boat it doesn’t come down smoothly. Now we have bouncy seas and lots of wind and sail that won’t come down. I go to the mast to investigate and climb up on the boom and was able tug on the sail and bring it down. Not to bad. Now to tie the main down, I notice that the top batten, where the sail attaches to the cars that slide up and down the mast had an issue. The pin that holds the slide to the sail was dangerously close to going swimming. The pin is normally secured by a cotterpin/split ring that prevents the pin from leaving of its own free will. Well the cotterpin took a break at some point and went swimming without asking. Silly thing didn’t know there was not a lifeguard on duty. Oh well he knew the risks.
Now holding on for dear life with one hand for me and one on the pin the struggle started. Bouncing back and forth, up and down and trying to get leverage to pull the pin or to complete re-insert the pin, either would have been fine, the pin was bound pretty tightly needed a tool or something help. Christine brought me some things to try eventually, a large and I mean large screw driver I was able to re-seat the pin and go in search of the spares. Found em, now back to the bucking bronco to thread this needle with one hand and not dropping anything.
Success, sail still onboard and now completely attached again we will be ready for the wind when it returns in our favor.
We motor on through the clouds, look back at our track and the track of the neighboring boats. No one had fun, they all went different directions to fight their own battles. And then continue on.
Later that evening we are still motoring along, we tried to sail again several times but the wind was too fickle with its directions or speed to provide adequate speed to arrive in New Zealand before the ‘approaching front’ with high winds that we want to avoid. So motoring is the call being made by us.
We chatted on our evening SSB (radio) net with our friends boats behind us, and several hours after our fun, the found the rain system and had also resorted to engines. Made for a nice restful sleep and evening watch as there wasn’t much wind, the waves were moderating so it was just the dull roar of the diesel being burned to keep you awake. Staying awake with nothing to do is always a challenge for me.
Gone is the Champagne sailing, enter the day of the dry-suit. Its cold and rainy, at least most of me stays dry and warm with the layers under the dry-suit.