8 December Cava for breakfast!

At 0643 Saturday morning we reached the imaginary line drawn on the ocean to mark halfway. We chose a position 1,375 miles from St Lucia, assuming 2,750 miles in total. Our GPS thought it was 2,680 miles from the start line, but then the machine thinks we can sail over land! Just to confuse matters, the ship’s log read 1,639 miles travelled through the water which doesn’t take into account the miles the current has carried us. The one certain fact is that we have less distance to go than we have sailed already. We celebrated with Cava at breakfast in lieu of fruit juice. During the afternoon we had several minor problems, now all sorted. We decided to gybe the sails again to get a bit more south into our course which isn’t on a direct line to St Lucia but might help us miss a big wind hole. Step 1 – gybe the main under control, done quickly and safely. Step 2 – roll away genoa, move pole to port side. Our pole is fixed at the mast so you can’t end to end it therefore John hauls the inboard end up the mast, I release the downhauls and we swing the end of the pole over the guard wire on the other side. So far, so good. John took the opportunity to replace the pole uphaul with a spinnaker halyard, to reduce the likelihood of chafe. We eventually got the pole back out after several tries at untangling the uphaul line. This all took a lot longer than expected. Back in the cockpit, ready to pull out the sail, the wind had veered and the genoa needed to be out the same side as the mainsail. We started unrolling it slowly; then it jammed. The spinnaker halyard holding the pole up had got caught in the sail. At least that problem was an easy fix. While John rolled the sail away I kept tension on the halyard which quickly became free. Once tightened, we cautiously unrolled the genoa. We were sailing again. At some point during these activities I noticed the end of the topping lift was swinging free. The line that ties it to the boom had chafed through and the rope had swung forward and around the mast causing potentially more mayhem at the top of the mast. John carefully disentangled it from the radar, the radar reflector, and the spreaders and eventually got it tidily stored on the granny bars next to the mast. The next few hours were peaceful, the boatspeed slowly increased as the wind rose to 9 knots true on the beam and we continued on our chosen track. I started to get dinner ready, celebratory steak and chips with ratatouille, popped up on deck for break and noticed the pole was dangling in the water! This was another easy fix. The uphaul had been attached with a snap shackle which opens by pulling a ring on a pin, these keyrings are notoriously prone to snagging, and the ring had snagged and opened the shackle. The fix was to pull the inboard end of the pole up the mast while I controlled the downhaul. We have reattached the uphaul, taped the ring firmly and secured the end of the pole to the lifelines until we need it again. Back to the galley, it was time to dry fry the steaks. The frying pan was hot, the steaks sizzled, I set the timer for 2 minutes then realised the steaks were no longer sizzling. We were out of gas. John changed the bottle, not without some difficulty. Dinner eventually arrived on the table about half an hour late. We hope Sunday will be problem free! Joyce

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