Bonkers busy

June 11 –

Wind is picking up. Changing direction, thick, heavy dark clouds on the horizon.

Time for a sail change.
Staysail up, code 2 down.
Wrap net down and Yankee 1 up
Reef one in.
Then reef one out.

Too late, storm clouds on the horizon very quickly moving towards us. Wind picking up and boat leaning over with spumes of foaming angry sea crashing over the toe rails and side deck.

Too late for a racing headsail change, we are going bare headed, not what a racing boat wants but a necessity in this case.

Breeze of 27 knots and a Yankee 1, the biggest headsail, to come down.

Gordon 1, Wim our new n2 me n3 and a variety of newbies at 4 and 5.

Waves crashing over us we bring down and in the Y1, it escaped us a few times as the wind pulled and made it taut, it’s simply a nightmare trying to control it in these circumstances. We did though.

Next call to unhank the 1 and thread the hanks onto a sail tie and move the sail backwards ready to hank on and hoist the Y2.

Boat leaning heavily and waves choppy we bring the Y2 out of the rope locker onto the foredeck, pull it forward to the forestay and hank on. As n3 it’s my job to help n2 pull out the sail from the sail bag and push the hanks forward to the bowman. You’re above the guard rail, on the high side and could so very easily get pushed over the guard rail by an itinerant wave or dodgy helming move.

Y2 safely hoisted we go for reef 2. I’m closest to the mast and so end up climbing onto the vang and partially up the mast, thankfully with Richard supporting me. The skipper calls out that it’s going to be a tough reef. Great. No pressure then. I look to the foredeck in search of Gordon. He grins and then mouths ‘you can do it’. I focus.

Main halyard easing I pull down on the luff of the mainsail and pass the flakes to Richard to hang onto instead of them being picked up by the howling wind. I need to undo the cringle on R1 and put it on R2.


I climb down from the mast, tidy up the Cunningham and realise I’m shaking from an adrenalin rush.

And we still have the Y1 to bring back to the cockpit, flake and bag.

The new watch are on deck by now and so we achieve this last effort relatively easily.

From 6am ’til midday we didn’t stop.  An exhausting and exhilarating morning, now time to sleep before two night watches await us.

How was your day in the office?!


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