"Ladies & gentlemen, due to some technical difficulties this flight will be re-routed. Our ground personnel are preparing alternate means to get you to your destination. We're sorry for the inconvenience."
This calm, polite and apologetic message is what you would have heard last night on Topanga if we were an airline. We are not however an airline and what you would have actually heard was chaos, wind, waves and a few choice words.
On our record breaking attempt passage from Samana DR to The Turks & Caicos, an hour before sunset, we had a major issue with our front sail and were forced to abort and head for a contingency anchorage in Río San Juan DR.
Same damn issue as we had crossing from Puerto Rico to Dominican; our genoa sail got knotted on itself while we were furling it in due to strong winds. In fact this time was even worse than last because more sail was blowing chaotically above the knot. The noise was horrendous and heartbreaking. Snap, wham, bang! The whole rig and boat shook with such a violence I was sure at beast the sail would rip, at worst rigging would snap.
To fix it someone would have to get hoisted half way up the fore stay. There was no way we could fix it en route in rolling seas and 25knot winds (we at least tried from the bow deck) and there was no way we could continue the long remaining distance in this condition. There was no way we could turn back to Samana because we had come too far ( and it would have been heavy upwind sailing) so we diverted to another anchorage. Part of our passage planning is to identify some contingency anchorages just in case we need to stop. We've never had to use one yet but it sure was nice to have the waypoint already in the chartplotter. Under a double reefed main it took another seven hours to arrive (2:00am) in the anchorage, one we've never been to and in the dark. My favourite. We dropped the hook sorted some stuff out and hit the sack until we could deal with it at first light. Unfortunately this anchorage was really rolley and the we could also still hear the sail (although markedly less in the protection of the anchorage) so we did not have a great sleep. Obviously we have no photos of this whole debacle.
In the light of a new day, I am VERY PLEASED to report, we were able to fix the problem and be on our way. I was really worried we would have a lot of trouble fixing it at (rolley) anchor with just the two of us. In Samana we were tied to a dock and had five pairs of hands helping out!
Hope the next leg, is less eventful.
Check out our video
|Rounding the cape
|Flyin' Wing on Wing baby
|Breakfast at the wheel