Heading the Pacific Ocean. “There is no log now, we have too much work to do. The main sail’s top lock has broken again, the sail neither goes up, neither down.
In 40 knots of wind C had to go up to cut it off the slider. Now the sail can slide freely, but the lock is stuck at the first reef line. Later when the wind has calmed we will fix it.”
22th Feb. BWR LIVE Onboard Interview
First day of the Spirit of Hungary to sail into the Pacific.
Nandor Fa skipper and Andi Robertson (BWR English writer) are talking about the life of BWR skippers: about having to repair brand new equipment that doesn’t work, about working on top of the mast to fix top fittings, about food and relaxation, and about the main differences of the 20th and 21th centuries’ sailing races from Nandor’s aspect, regarding his background as a solo sailor, and his experiences in the Vendée Globe.
Nándor Fa skipper’s Log 21th Feb 04 00 UTC, in the morning.
Everything went well with good speed, in the right direction, and the following few days seem to be promising. We had an average 18 knots speed within a measured period, and in the past 24 hours we’ve come 395 miles with a 16,49 knots average. On the other hand, we pay a high price for the high speed, both us and the boat.
The boat has to bear an incredible amount of punches that reach every single part of the boat – the structure, the keel, the fittings, the mast, the ropes, the sails, the electricity, etc.
In the morning I woke for C wildly winching outside, more times, and keeps talking – not in a way he’d be happy. So I take on my clothes and go out to help, whatever it may be. He’s sitting under the roof, his eyes sparkling, his face not showing any good. What happened? – I ask. He unreefed one line, and then he should have reefed it back but he can’t pull the main sail down because it’s stuck at the first reefline – he explains. We would really have to reef because the wind is 35 kts and the whole sail is luffing.
We try again, nothing. We try to wave the sail, what if something is stuck and we can move it, and try to figure out first of all, what the problem is and second of all, how we could fix it. If the lock is stuck, then it’s possible it locks when we pull down. We pull it higher, still doesn’t move. We bring the sheet to the second reef line and start winching. It moves 40 cm and stops again. I get my binoculars but the place where I could see the lock from, cubik metre-sized splotches arrive to my face. As much as I could see, it’s not the lock that holds, at least not in its place. If the lock’s wolf teeth bit into the slide and stuck there, we are in trouble – again !
We go for a cup of coffee, that is to have some time to think. Then we change the solent for stay to slow the speed, now it’s only 14 knots. For an appetizer, C sews the the halyard’s cover which had broken from something in the night, at 3 metres height.
We agree on the signs as we cannot hear anything of what the other is saying, and then I pull him slowly up to kicking height. I tie myself too because every second wave wants to take me, and winch. „The lock is broken!” – he shouts – „what should I do?” We’ve already agreed on some possible solutions to certain situations, now I have to decide for him what to do. „Cut the sail off!” – I shout back. Now nothing holds the upper one and a half metres of the sail, it can move freely. I quickly get him down, he’s close to fainting. We are sitting at the mast, waves come and go over us, and we try to make some order in the ropes. Now the sail is hanging on halyard which is good, given the present circumstances, but while I was paying attention to C, I didn’t realize in the big wobble that the halyard had flickered to the other side of the radar and is carrying the burden from there. Goes back and forth ahead of the mast, which is really not good. I have no other choice, I let the boom down so that the sail streches on the rig, and now maybe I can let the halyard for just a few seconds while I flicker it back to the right side. The maneuver works but the sail comes down just enough for a spreader to tear it on a 30 cm section. It makes me angry, on top of all the problems, but it can be fixed.
Now we have a movable main sail, with its top part sticking away as it’s not fixed to the mast, sustained solely by the halyard and a car at the first batten, and one floor above we have a broken car stuck.
The following decisions had been formed in my mind: First mast climb: it’s going to be me. Disassemble the sliding fitting up there and bring it down to the top of the sail and tie it together so that it works as a normal sliding car, and it holds the top of the sail.
Second mast climb: it’s also going to be me. Bring a big block, tie it on to the top of the sail and bring the halyard to the top of the mast. I measured and counted, that even the third reef line can come off with a double halyard. We will patch the halyard at the bottom, and though the lower section can’t be burdened, it will be strong enough to pull the sail down and up. This way we will have a strict and strong halyard, and a full main sail are to be used. We’ve never had a fourth reef line but we learned to deal with it’s absence by using the stay when the wind is above 45 knots.
We are quite stable at the moment, sailing with two reefs and a solent – with an average of 16 knots without stops.
C is exhausted, his night shift was topped with a mast climb and I could see he was bothered by the broken lock. Since we’ve come back in, he’s been sleeping. There’s a tough cold front with ice-cold wind and sprays, everything is covered in water and conditions are Arctic-like out there. It’s a littl bit better inside but still cold and wet.
With the mast climb I’ll wait until the wind calms and the waves are less wild. It’s probably going to be tomorrow.
Besides, it’s nice to see the that Hobart’s longitude is only 140 miles away on the map, and we soon step into the Pacific Ocean. I think we’ve passed the half-way point of our southern march, but we didn’t realize because we were too busy.
At 10 10 UTC our position is 50° 12′ S, 142° 16,8′ E
We progress well, but the price is high in equipment and in energy.”
Weather Forecast Barcelona World Race Issued 0300Z 21-FEB-2015
OVERVIEW: The boats east of the dateline are making rapid progress now in
favorable winds. A very strong storm is expected to pass from north to
south between race leader, Cheminees Poujoulat, and the chasing two.
Further back, Renault Captur is facing some headwinds on their sail toward
Wellington, as a minor low pressure sits between them and NZ’s South Island.
At the back, a strong cold front will give Spirit of Hungary some gale to
storm force winds.