Life & Travels Afloat in our Moody
Just to impress the natives, the rally had a racing start in the river. As with all great ideas, this was affected by the light wind. We had the bright idea of going slightly further from the line and hoisting the chute. This is a huge lightweight sail for use in downwind sailing. No sooner was it up than the wind dropped to nil, leading to chaos about a minute before the start. Boats were pointing in all directions, some even having to motor astern to avoid fouling the start line. The wind then went 180 degrees, now directly head-on. Chute snuffed!
When we cleared the river, the chute immediately went back up and we had a fantastic sail for most of the 55nm to Figuera. That was until about 17.00 when there was a bang and a shout from Annemarie, (I was below). The whole chute was in the water. Helm hard over, and up to the bow to recover the sodden mass. As the last came aboard, it was evident that the top of the sail had torn off about 4 feet down. Getting under way again, at much reduced speed with just the genoa, gloom descended on the crew.
Once in port, there was not much time to reflect on the issue with a rally supper that evening and a trip to Coimbra the next day. This city, some 40km from Figuera appears to have been centred around its historic university. In truth, I was starting to suffer from cultural overload, but the library and other buildings were magnificent. As you can see, the original all-male attendees combined with the medical faculty would appear to have come up with the invention of the urinal, just one of the numerous statues planted in the city.
With one more stop on the way back at an historic castle, it was sleepy time for some even before we got back on board. During the day, we had received offers of help from other crews with our sail problem, and so I rang our sailmaker to check on whether we should try to fix it, and if so, how? Duly instructed, we set to wash the sail clean and free of salt. Hanging it up to dry produced the next drama as no sooner had we done this than the wind got up. Thanks to Gary, Nick and Karen off Abraxas, it was captured and wrestled back down, more or less dry thankfully. Then the heroine of the day, Joyce from Starblazer, joined us with the right scissors and sail-tape and we all set about gluing the 2 parts together again. Amazingly Joyce also had a sewing machine on board, and she skilfully stitched up the newly taped join. Sincere thanks were due to all, especially Joyce!
We are stuck in the port for an extra day due to the forecast of high winds and a 4m swell……