Ahoy, Oh what a night!? I don’t know what happened, but Lady Luck must have left the boat.
A serious of mishaps filled our night yesterday. Still in the Doldrums we were motorsailing with the main up and engine running. The wind was slow with around 4-6 kn in a still very confused sea. Even though it was raining pretty much all the time we had squalls finding our little boat regularly. During my nightwatch one of these squalls filled our sails and with the main sheeted in tight to help steady the boat we heeled over big time. It came out of nowhere and hit us with 25 – 30 kn right away. No warning. A pitch black night. No stars no moon just dark around us.
I jumped out immediately to open the sheets. It was pouring cats and dogs, the boat was wet and rolling like a bottle in a storm. I was soaked immediately and tried to see but with so much rain in the eyes focusing took a moment. Then I saw it. The whole top of the main was ripped to pieces, shredded and flapping. I rang the bell. Our sign to all hands to get out of their cosy beds immediately! And a blink of an eye later 8 sleepy eyes looked at me.
I was surprised how fast everybody reacted. I told them we had to take down what’s left of the main and added we’ll be wet to the bones doing it. Moments later everybody was on position and with Fay and Taiichi in the cockpit handling the sheets, Marco, Juan and myself were on the foredeck fighting down hard, wet und fiercly flapping Dacron. I was on the dodger to stuff the sail into the lazybags and Marco and Juan pulled it down at the mast. The lazybags made it way easier to secure the sail and I was super happy that I installed them. It took just a few minutes with 10 hands working each on their station and we could return to the dry and warm pilothouse.
The squall was still violent but I only saw happy faces. Everybody knew we just did an awesome job out there and some of them finally understood what I meant when I was describing possible situations in our briefing before departure. I gotta say that I couldn’t be any happier with all of the crew handling the situation like pro’s even thought most of them never did it before.
We watched the squall moving away and all but me went back to bed. Everybody was exhausted including me.
But now we were motoring in calm winds and wild seas again, just without any sails up and folks I can tell you it’s no fun. We still had most of the night in front of us and sleeping in a boat rolling more than 30 degree is hard work.
A few hours later, it was Juan shift now and I was resting in the dodger to be closer to the elements going on here, my rest, I wouldn’t call it sleep!?, got disturbed by an unusual change in rpms from the motor. Before Juan could say anything I was up and opened the floorboards to just witness the motor to die. Now we were drifting and I can’t find any suitable description about how much we were shaken around now. It was horrible.
The motor ran for days now and the heat in the engine room was pressing on my already weak body. What happened? Out of fuel? Did I pick the wrong tank? But there is no wrong or right. Both tanks still have plenty juice to feed the red beast. We tried to start it but with no luck. I called Fay out of bed again to assist me with tools and parts and started to disassemble the fuel filter. It had some debris from algae in it but was that enough to stop it? We filled up in marina La Cruz in Banderas Bay the day before we left. Just 3 weeks ago. The tanks were clean before. I know because I checked it so the fuel there must have been contaminated. Gracias!
I remembered a discussion I heard that you don’t need to worry any more about the fuel in Mexico. Haha. You tell me!
Fay handed me a new filter, I put it in and after a few pumps on the primer it started. Just when I was expressing my relief Fay told me that battery No. 7 feels very hot. What’s going on here?? Hidden camera? A test? Whatever it is, please stop!!! I was done.
I could feel seasickness tithening it’s grip around my stomach. Hanging head first in the engine room hands full of diesel rolling like hell and no sun for days got me. And I didn’t feel good before, so doors wide open!! Hello Beasty!
While we were still cleaning up I could feel a breeze coming up, first with around 8 to 10 kn and slowly building to 12 to 14. No rain! Let’s give the motor a rest and set the Genoa, even when I didn’t expect it to last long until the next squall would come to visit.
But it was different. It felt different. Warmer, dryer, more consistent. Are this the SE trades winds??
Sceptical I moved back to my post under the dodger, ready to act in case I had to, but my senses were right.. we finally left the doldrums. Thanks Neptune! But why the hell did you send us this last squall, took our mainsail and wipped us so badly a stonethrow away?? That wasn’t necessary at all.
Now. After a full day sailing like we should, with very consistent wind around 18 kn cutting through the deep blue Pacific with 7 kn just under Genoa, all cushions and decks dry again we still ask us this question. But again with smiles in our faces.. we did it, doldrums check!
Now we know why most sailor don’t like them. Aloha Christian
Sent from the Ocean.

3 thoughts on “SunsetNews Day 23

  1. So I guess it was the doldrums why you were sailing straight south, so you could stay as little as possible under their influence? good sailing!

  2. Excellent progress. Nice job dealing with the tough issues. Great trip. Im still waiting for repaired transmission. Should be underway in three days or so. Take care have fun.

  3. Wow; that sounded pretty stressful, but I’m so glad you all rose to the challenge and everything turned out ok! Wishing you smoother sailing ahead!
    Aloha from Maui!

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