Day 14 – High Wire Spinnaker Rescue
Jane and Freddie awoke to a spectacular sunrise on their watch. Jane made coffee, but while handling the sugar, a sudden lurch sent her sprawling across the cabin, flinging a sugar coating over the entire floor, her mattress and sleeping Uwe.
She deftly swept it up , brushing it off Uwe without disturbing his blissful sleep, then proceeded to wash the floors down leaving a sweet caramel glaze on them.
As the morning proceeded, Joey perfected his bread- making skills and as the dough rose, we were on a good down run and Peter suggested that we should fly the spinnaker.
The spinnaker went up smoothly and we flew along for a brief few minutes at 10 knots. We were suddenly caught by a 25 knot gust preceeding a squall that came out of nowhere. They guy was smoked but we broached violently, dunking Joey into the water. Pat fell onto him, effectively holding Joey under, while the rest of the crew heaped into a violent mess in the cockpit.
Joey managed to force his head up and Pat and Joey fell into the safety of the we attempted to unwrap.
We untangled ourselves from each other and rushed into action to drop the spinnaker, but it had tightly wrapped itself around the furled headsail and as we attempted to unwrap the bottom part of the spinnaker,the top part wrapped itself around the other way. After much effort to release it, we realized that the only possible solution was to unwrap it starting from the top.
Ash slipped into the harness and ,using the starboard spinnaker halyard, we winched him up in 22 knot winds, trying to shield him from the wind with the mainsail up.
Ash took on the skill of a flying trapeze artist, ‘whooping’ his way, with a wide grin on his face as the wind spun him around. He successfully unwrapped the head of the spinnaker while Pat, Uwe and Sean hung on to the billowing sail, shouting orders back to Joey and Jane on the winches.
Once the spinnaker was down ,we couldn’t lower Ash because the halyards had wrapped themselves around the spreaders. This left Ash flying like Jack Sparrow into the mainsail.
We eventually untangled him and lowered him safely onto deck, adrenalin pumping.
The funny thing was that although tired, Ash was loving it- said he always wanted to tick ‘ flying into the mainsail’ off his bucket list.
Life is a little crazy on JML Rotary Scout.