Last night was characterized by cloud and the occasional rain squall. I had seen the possibility of rain during the afternoon but I was running downwind which is not a good point of sail for using the mainsail, at least as far as I am concerned. The best way that I've found for collecting rain water on Pachuca is to have the mainsail up with one reef. In the folds of that reefed part of the sail nice deep pools of water will collect and eventually run out the back where I can catch it. After the rain there is enough water in the sail fold to fill up a couple of buckets. In any event, there just wasn't enough rain at any time to do much more than dampen things. While up sometime after midnight to attend to one of these squalls I noticed that the wind had veered so I altered the Monitor to put us on a port beam reach.
In the morning we were still headed south on the beam reach, the wind was at about 15 kt, so I decided to use the last 15 minutes of my battery charging engine run to point the boat into the wind and raise the mainsail with one reef. I'll be able to modulate the boat speed and load on the rigging by rolling the headsail in and out.
I had a very hard time raising the mainsail, and in hindsight it was self inflicted. The problem was the ends of the battens getting snagged on the lazy jacks. If my memory serves me right Carol Hosse's crew in Port Townsend put metal rings at the ends of the battens to make them easier to pull out because they had had such a difficult time in getting them out. The ends of the battens tended to snag before the new pull rings, but the change made the problem worse. I am not faulting Carol's work and if I had the choice I'd still have the change made. It is all about tradeoffs, and it's all about me doing things properly.
I got lulled by the easy time I had in raising the mainsail on the last attempt. At that time I loosened the lazy jacks and headed into the moderate wind as best as I could then gave pulls on the halyard when I could see that the battens were between the lazy jacks. This time it didn't work so well, undoubtedly because of the 15 kt wind.
The experience was a reminder to do what I did on my 27 ft sloop Angie and I have successfully done on Pachuca, which is to totally drop the lazy jacks and get them completely out of the way before hoisting the mainsail. It means going to the mast and loosening each lazy jack right off so that the main diagonal cord passes under the reefing hook at the goose neck. At that point the lazy jacks are running along the boom and totally out of the picture.
Another mistake that I made was to not roll in the headsail before motoring into the wind for the hoist. Twice the bow crossed the wind, backwinding the jib, and putting the boat in irons. I had to use a lot of engine rpm to force the bow back into the wind. Eventually I rolled in the headsail and had no more of this trouble. As with the lazy jack measure, this is a necessity when the wind speed is relatively high.
It took 30 minutes of hard yakka to get that sail up. 3 of the 5 battens snagged and 3 times I had to drop the sail far enough to free the batten. But the result well justified the effort. When the boat had been trimmed and settled down we were making an average of more than 5.5 kt on a port beam reach with the first reef and the headsail at No. 2. I had gained about 1.5 kt in speed, and the boat felt like it was riding on rails. Very nice.
The prolonged mainsail effort resulted an an engine run of 2.3 hours instead of the planned 2.0 hours (109.3 hrs total). The last 30 minutes of that run was into the wind without the help of the sails, which loaded the engine nicely. I had started the morning with 12.4V in the house bank and 30 minutes after engine shutdown it was at 12.8V. Slowly I'm building up the charge in that bank.
And while I was at the mast I found my first flying fish on the foredeck.
At noon our position was 13N27, 112W58. Our 24 hour distance was 102 miles. We were 590 SSW of Cabo San Lucas and 1375 miles off the coast of Honduras. The weather had cleared and the temperature remained mild. I was still passing the days wearing just underpants.
At 3 PM the wind was down to 12 and 13 kt, but I had rolled out the full headsail and we were till hooting along at over 5 knots.
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