Because the grib files predicted calm winds for at least 24 hours I decided to carry the spinnaker all night with a constant watch on deck. I figured that the extra speed justified the extra effort on our part. But it was not to be. At 6.15 PM we heard a loud bang. I raced to the cockpit and could not see the spinnaker pole. A closer look showed revealed that the lower sling on the spinnaker pole for the downhaul had parted and the pole had flown up and against the headstay. The spinnaker was billowing out at a strange angle but the situation was stable. "All Hands On Deck!" I yelled out. Brenda let off on the halyard as I hauled in the spinnaker clew and slowly brought the sail on board by coordination of my hauling in the sail with Brenda letting off on the halyard and brace. Part of the spinnaker wound up in the water but that didn't matter to me as long as it didn't wind up wrapped around the bow of the boat.
In Hawaii I had asked the rigger about replacement of the rope that I was using for the downhaul sling with wire. He suggested Spectra rope. I took that advice but I must have used too light a Spectra rope. I wish that I had had Dan replace all of the wire on the pole (the top one has a broken strand) while I had the chance in Port Townsend.
Anyway, that was the end of the spinnaker for the night. I stowed the pole, tidied up the foredeck, and soon we were sailing at about 3 kt with a no. 2 jib on a broad reach. At least we would get a good night's sleep. During the night the wind died down. At 1 AM our speed was below 1.5 kt but somehow Jeff kept us going in the right direction.
The 1 AM thing was not a random thing. Every evening I set the alarm for 1 AM for a one-hour weather fax session in which I capture the 24 and 48 surface and wind/wave faxes. As a bonus, I am able to hear the news on the Australian ABC world service at 1 AM and 2 AM.
In the morning I wished Brenda a happy birthday and promised her a deferred gift, possibly a nice meal in San Francisco. She wondered how many people her age spend their birthday on a small boat off the California coast. I told her that our age it is definitely better to be anticipating the Golden Gate than the Pearly Gates.
After breakfast I replaced the broken spinnaker pole sling with a thicker standard rope. Then I went below and spent a sweaty 20 minutes repacking the damp kite. Brenda said that she was going to put on appropriate accompanying music for the spinnaker packing effort and soon I was listening the "Wild Thing!" by the Troggs. We hauled the kite with little trouble - no wine glass this time - and soon we were traveling at over 4.5 kt. By noon our speed had dropped to 3.6 kt with an apparent wind of less that 5 kt, but we were certainly much better off with the spinnaker.
An hour later nature gave to Brenda her birthday gift. She saw a line of dolphins off the port bow, then the blowing of a whale behind them. The dolphins seemed more sleek than the ones that we are familiar with, and they did not seem to be running away from the whale. I saw the blowing myself and we could see the curve of the whale's body (probably a humpback or possibly a gray whale) as it made its short dives. Thirty minutes later she spotted a second whale and we got a good view of its body and its tail in the air as it made started a deeper dive. We think that we may be on a whale migration route, with the whales headed NW.
At 12.30 PM we were 157 miles from the entrance to SF bay and 65 nm off the coast. We had established good communication with our host at the private dock in SF.
radio email processed by SailMail
for information see: http://www.sailmail.com