Day two – trials and tribulations.

Don't let the title stop you reading further, it 's not all gloomy! Statistics first. The first day's run, noon to noon was 121 miles of which about 115 were towards our waypoint off Cape Finisterre. The winds were largely weak and variable to start with, strengthening a little late afternoon, allowing us to sail all night though rather slowly. The first surprise of the day was spotting two rally boats which should be slower than us, two miles ahead and pulling away. Mid morning we decided to do something about them. No, torpedoes wouldn't be very friendly! We rolled the genoa away and pulled up the colourful cruising chute, Starblazer responded instantly and we quickly overhauled the two yachts. It's only the second time we have flown that sail on this boat so it is a bit of a learning curve. We sailed magnificently for about 4 hours then we noticed the wind was building and had already reached force 5. It was time to take the chute down, before we were ready our hand was forced. The tack line, holding the forward corner of the sail down, decided to extricate itself from the round turn and two half hitches on the shackle and release the tack up in the air! Frantically I sorted out the jumble of flapping sail and flailing lines and pulled the sock down then we lowered the sail and repacked it in its bag before pulling out the genoa. While all this was going on we were hunted down and overtaken by one of the boats we had passed 3 hours earlier, they were making very good speed flying a spinnaker. Very depressing. Their own trials were about to confront them when they decided it was time to drop the spinnaker, which didn't quite go according to plan, meanwhile we were sailing fast under plain sails and had once again got ahead! The very bright part of the day was when John managed to download e-mails, including the important weather one. We still can't send, so that problem will have to be sorted in Baiona. As I plated up the dinner the wind and waves suddenly increased in unison. We quickly ate dinner then set about reefing down as the wind was now force 6. We turned off the wind to roll away some headsail but one of the genoa cars jumped off its track and was flailing around madly. There was nothing for it but to roll away the entire sail and fix the genoa car. John decided we would put two reefs in the main so I went forward to pull down the sail and pull in the reef. This job, at the mast, on a pitching deck, in strong winds isn't easy at the best of times. Today wasn't 'the best of times'. Somehow the stopper knot on the first reef line had worked undone so the line had disappeared inside the boom, not too desperate as skipper had ordered two reefs which I struggled to put in. Job done and I gratefully returned to the safety and shelter of the cockpit. We reset the main then tried to pull out some genoa. It got stuck. John noticed that one spinnaker halyard had got wrapped around the genoa halyard. It was an easy fix to roll away the small bit of genoa, tighten up the spinnaker halyards then pull out some genoa again. It seemed to take a long time but, eventually, we were sailing quite fast, with much reduced canvas, on an acceptable heading, and continued that way all night. Today's menu comprised porridge and grilled bacon with scrambled egg wraps for breakfast, wraps for lunch similar to yesterday's, and a creamy chicken pasta, with lots of chicken for dinner. We are safe and enjoying the roller coaster. More tomorrow. Joyce

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