Kitemare II – the Southern Ocean

Jeepers and just off our afternoon watch having done numerous headsail changes. We just didn’t stop.

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Yankee 3 dropped, Yankee 2 hoist. Shake out two reefs back to full main sail, code 3 (the heavy weight) peeled and… Aghhhh the spinnaker halyard breaks… remember, this is the rope that hoists the sail so this is major ‘bother’.

All hands cry to pull her in as she flails in the water. Wind suddenly picks up – now that wasn’t in the forecast!

I’m on the foredeck pulling the lazy spinnaker sheet so we can do a letterbox drop, the sheet is wrapping under the spinnaker in the water, a shout to the bowman to pull as I pull and yee ha result. Amazing what the power of giving birth does for you!?!?

Back to the cockpit amongst a pile of ropes and ripped halyard, our skipper is at her all-time best during emergencies. Next job, pull in the spinnaker, come on guys, on three -1-2-3 PULL amazing what coordinated team work achieves. Skipper uses our emergency knife to cut the sail free from the ripped halyard and we have the sail safely on deck.

And all this at the end of a watch with three gybes therefore three preventer re runs, only to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and nearly hoisted as the lazy Yankee sheet becomes the working sheet with my safety line over the top of the darn thing. Aghhh, silly me as a look of sheer terror crosses my face, our helmsman and watch leader stare in horror as the flogging sheet is centimetres from my head and my safety line is lifting me off the deck, Thank goodness for crew mates who come to the rescue and in the same move as un- clipping you from the horror of a hoist, have you clipped safely back on deck.

I can honestly say that was a lesson well learnt and one mistake I shall never make again.

And so to sleep until the 10 ’til 2 am watch with a day on mother watch to look forward to. Oh the joy of an uninterrupted 12 hour sleep!

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