It’s the Little things…
I spent every spare moment over the last month fixing and replacing gear aboard Double Wide. I went over systems, replaced questionable components and tried hard to anticipate every possible breakdown. The sea has a way of showing me how inadequate and underprepared I am for sailing across the Gulf of Mexico.
Yesterday was rough from the start. The waves weren’t really that big (3-5 feet) and the wind wasn’t really that strong (20-30 kts), but we had to sail to upwind and in the Gulf of Mexico that feels like being inside a washing machine. Waves come at you from all directions and the boat and crew get banged about. It’s in conditions like this that things break. Last night was no exception.
At 11:00 PM, the mainsheet parted and the main was flopping wildly. This has happened before and the fix is not very difficult: Drop the main, climb up on the cockpit top, grab the bucking boom and retie the mainsheet. For some reason this time the sheet parted inside the boom, so I had to fashion a temporary sheet from spare line. In the pitch black and wild conditions, it was a stimulating experience.
Around 1:00 AM one of the block and tackle rigs that hold the dinghy up and against the stern of the boat broke and the back of the dinghy dropped 6 feet in to the water. Holy **** what do I do with this wild bucking bronc? First I had to lower the bow without putting a hole in the back of the boat while at the same time trying to avoid getitng torpedoed by the bucking dinghy. We dropped the sails and tried to stop as much of the motion as possible (fat chance) so that I could get in to the dinghy and hook up the repaired block & tackle rig and then pull the dinghy back up. Now, when the dinghy is pulled out of the water by the bow and the stern, you still have to secure it up against the back of the boat to keep it from swinging out of control – Yehawww! Some how we managed to get it under control and get back under way within about 45 minutes.
Something always seems to be breaking on boats. I don’t think I’ve ever made a Gulf Crossing when I didn’t have to fix something. I’m hoping the breaking and fixing is done for this trip, but if something breaks, we’ll deal with it and keep moving on!! Florida bound!