Southern Child – Daily Blog 3

Day 4 - Christmas Caribbean Rally
24:20.502N 25:40.532W
Course: 280
Wind:30knts 90 degrees
Sea: ENE 2-3m
Distance Run: 198nm over 24h
Top speed: 14.9knts – Marina and Heike, with 2 reefed mainsail and poled out genoa.
This morning was another busy morning for the Southern Children. The wind has been creeping up towards the 35+ knots that was forecast, which has unfortunately meant that our trusty poled out headsail is pulling us to lee in a very unbalanced manner. In a bid to allow the most people on the helm as possibe we have decided to change down to our smaller headsail, the Storm Jib. To be honest, this is possibly a little on the extreme side for a 35-40 knot blow. I would hate you to think that the Children had gone soft, but the choices are a little limited, as is the helming experience throughout the crew. Every single person, from the complete novices to the dinghy sailors and windsurfers have been doing an amazing job keeping Southern Child on the move. The concentration levels that are needed for downwind sailing has possibly surprised a few people, but everyone has been “digging out blind” or “digging deep” (depending on whether you are military or not).
Just as we were discussing the technique involved in gybing the headsail across to the lee of the mainsail, dropping the pole, dropping the genoa and then hoisting the storm jib, the shackle that holds the kicker to the deck level sheared through. The kicker holds the boom down towards deck, not allowing the main sail to lift and spill the wind. It is a very complicated system of blocks and pulleys, and was now sprawled across the deck and over the guardrails. Fortunately we are a serious racing crew so stayed calm, fought over who would go to the mast, and reran the whole system with a new shackle. Then it was back in time for the planned manouevre of changing the headsail.
Again, nothing ever goes quite the way you plan, and the beak of the pole refused to allow the windward sheet to run through smoothly. Again, as we are a serious racing crew we stayed calm, fought over who would go to the foredeck and tripped the pole. This did mean that the rest of the manoeuvre was a bit more of a “cuff” than was planned, but we sorted it, dropped the halyard and prepared the stormsail. Unfortunately for this blog the rest went swimmingly, and except for the now obligatory fight over the foredeck, we are all happy and sailing away balanced with 2 reefs in the mainsail and a storm jib.
Helen and Charlie are now considering career changes to become foredeck monkeys. They are very good at fighting unfairly.
Back to the sun and the sea for the Children of the South!