Tuesday, May 15, 2012


Noon Position: 46 33' S, 176 37' W, SOG 4, COG 110, Day's Run 105nm.
One of the things that I've been diligently avoiding this trip is going
aloft. The last time I did, on my way to Chile, I ended up with bruised
thighs, a mast that looked like a chainsaw chipmunk had been attacking
the paint, and didn't even succeed in fixing the light I was hoping to
fix. Here in the South, where there is almost always some sort of W
swell, I have studiously avoided a repeat performance, telling myself
that I was saving my mast-climbing mojo for a moment that mattered.
Well, last night navigational progress went SPROING!!!!! The breeze had
just come up enough that Odyssey was starting to sail well close hauled
under full sail and I had just gotten settled into bed, set a timer for
an hour and half, and was trying to fall asleep when I heard the
aforementioned SPROING!!!, far too loud and sproingy to be a normal boat
noise. My first thought was that the banana-boom had decided to
transform into a boom-erang, but when I got on deck with my headlamp I
realized that was not the case, as boat was still sailing well, boom
straight. Nothing seemed particularly wrong, and I wondered if this was
just a new phase in the "obnoxious noise game" that seems to be one of
my chief forms of entertainment. A few days ago, beating NE in 30 off
of Stewart Island, I had heard a similar, though much fainter sproing-y
sound, but hadn't been able to find anything the matter, so put it from
my head. Unfortunately, after another look I noticed the leeward lower
shrouds were disturbingly loose, and aiming my light aloft I found the
source of the SPROING!!!! the port forward lower shroud had parted
right at the upper swage fitting. Apparently throwing a 15'000 lb boat
off of 5 foot waves for days on end is not, in fact, beneficial to its
health. I suspect that one strand parted a couple of days ago, and that
the weakened shroud chose last night to blow. I quickly pulled down the
main and bore off to a broad reach, and prepared my mast-climbing mojo
for this, a moment that mattered. Three trips to the lower spreaders
later (one to remove the broken shroud and see if it was salvageable,
one to install the replacement, and one to install the cotter pin that I
dropped on the second trip) the back of the mast is doing it's turn as
chipmunk-food, chewn up by the hardware on my ascenders, but at least
I've got a shroud again. By this time, of course, the wind had built
enough that I could only put up the main triple reefed, and I've
continued reducing sail all night until this morning I'm slogging
through a Northerly gale under staysail alone. I am very happy that the
shroud decided to part last night in light air and before the seas got
up. Unfortunately with the wounded rig I didn't really want to push too
hard last night, so the mileage average continues to drop.


  1. Sometimes this happens.... don't worry... everything 'll b fine...keep sharing ur experiences... adb!!!

  2. ...and things get even more exciting! Stay safe, Eric.