Day 3 – Squalls, a Trio of Bad Luck, and a Yellowfin

(Underway, 130 Nautical Miles)

They say bad things happen in threes, so if we couple our mishap with Ednbal’s – as unfair as that sounds – we should be done.

The majority of the day was passed passing squalls. Nothing too scary or anything; just grey skies, buckets of rain, and varying wind direction and speed. During these squalls we have to take to hand steering to keep the wind at a favourable sailing angle. A completely feasible task, only we have to, obviously, turn off the autopilot. Our autopilot, our Most Valuable Player aboard Oceanna, can be a fickle friend. It runs like a dream for days on end, but should you turn it off it can be reluctant to take up the responsibility of holding course once again. We’ve learned to treat our stubborn MVP with patience and placation. Much the same as one would tip toe around an overbearing, but extremely talented, diva. Given 10 to 30 minutes of unbothered rest, the star returns to the stage an holds us steady and true.

Around 4 pm the winds had settled at a decidedly swifter rate and we deemed it necessary to put a reef in the sail. Dropping the main slightly and tightening the reefing lines, we would create two new base points to our sail triangle subsequently decreasing the amount of sail we were flying. Therefore catching less wind and putting less stress on the boat. With the forward reef point set at the base of the mast, Greg was tightening the line that brought the reef point tight at the aft end of the boom when the line snapped clean through and disappeared inside the rig. Shit!?

Yes a bothersome setback, but nothing we can’t handle. We used the second reef point to bring the trailing edge of the sail down towards the boom. Greg then climbed up on the bimini and used the broken line to lash reef point one tight in place. This created the third point of the triangle we were missing. Back at the base of the mast we released the second reefing line and the sail shaped up just fine. Would you look at that, I think we’re sailors!

Soon after we’d solved our own problem we got a call over the VHF radio from Roger to share the problems aboard Ednbal. They had developed a tear in the leech (back edge) of their mainsail. A precarious situation because continued wind loading could cause the tear to rip further, running the danger of completely ruining the sail. For the time being they had dropped their main for its own protection and were powered only by their jib.

One snapped reef line for us, a torn mainsail for Ednbal, and a busted up ankle for Sasha due to a night-time fall down their stairs and hopefully our run of bad luck was over. Not necessarily the way anyone wants to start a passage.

In the good news department, Greg evened the score with the fish today. He reeled in a beautiful yellowfin tuna. A first for Oceanna’s fisherman. We also hooked a couple mahi mahi, but their size was laughable. I honestly didn’t know mahi came that small.


Greg and his yellowfin. First fish of the crossing. Pretty exciting times.


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