|Departing Hanalei Bay|
Freddy the wind vane
1400hrs- riding nicely with 130 and single reef, winds 30 mph with large seas. I notice some trouble with the vane brackets holding the shaft and see the vane start to slip downwards. All hands on deck. We got a line on the vane and I took several wooden clothes line pins apart--they make great shims. I hammered them in only to see them work out. I have brought some extra pieces of wood and cut them into larger wedges of about 7 inches long. And hammered them into the bracket gasket attachment to the vane shaft. The upper bracket begins to shear and move at the through bolt. We are taking big seas on the aft lazerette which is making stern work wet and difficult. . We loose a pair of vise grips overboard. All three of us take turns lying on our stomachs, reaching out under the lower rung on the pulpit to work. I make a hand steered down wind course change to open the lazerette .We empty the lazerette out of all the carefully stowed items, Mike crawls inside it which is very large and comfortable while I steer and Jean is working on the outside bracket. Between Jean and Mike they get all the thru bolts re-tightened and the vane secured. . I bring Sabra back up to weather and get her back on heading 0N. Since we had been running fishing lines, there is a nightmare to untangle. I climb back on to the lazerette and spend an enormous amount of time sorting out the mess. I remember thinking how patient I was. A new decision was made no lines at night and only one with high winds. I watch the waves demolish the wood wedges and I hammer a new set in. I watch in disbelief that this new set works out and is swallowed by the deep blue Pacific Ocean. The vane starts to slide downwards again. I get new lashings and tie the vane in a lowered position and the brackets are holding. We will leave it this way for now. Sabra is being steered nicely with my $ 2.00 bungee cord. Meanwhile back to the fishing lines and after 30 more minutes they, too, are secured. After 1 ½ hrs of vane and fishing line work we all feel exhausted.
The weather is worsening 35mph wind, 12-15 ft seas rolling with good distance between them. We put a second reef in the main and continue with the 130. Looks like a long night ahead. Sabra is driving like crazy. She is loving this. As you know, Finnish boats love that wind and waves of the north seas. We all remain as a tight little group in the crowded cockpit. The dodger extension and the side panel weather cloths keep the majority of waves off us.
Thank goodness I had prior notice of the lunar event of the century that was going to take place tonight. A lunar eclipse, the longest in a century was happening starting at 1918hrs and continuing until 0040hrs 6 June. As the eclipse progressed, we could not see each other across the cockpit and in spite of the stormy night the skies were open enough for us to see the whole eclipse. The moon became reddish brown. It was very interesting and eerie to see. One is really never prepared for the total darkness of night sailing. You have to trust the wave pattern is favorable and steady, the winds remain constant, and the red light of the compass is your only clue as to what is happening and God forbid hitting or being hit by some ship or object. Sabra is like a thoroughbred horse at the Kentucky Derby. She has her bit in her mouth and galloping full speed ahead through un-seeable waves. She is out in front and nothing is going to pass her. This boat gets my juices flowing and tonight, while being exhausted, I rest comfortably in the exhilaration of this special moment.
As I type these notes, I am reliving her/my love story. She was my dream come true. I longed to sail the oceans and always wanted a world class sailboat. When she and her previous owner sailed into Honolulu from a south pacific storm, I fell in love with her the moment I saw her. On our sea trial, which still had moderate winds and big kona seas from the south, the owner put up the full main and a 170% genoa. I gasped when he shared his sail selection for the day. I could not believe how this boat sailed. It was the most exciting boat I had ever seen or been on.
The first 24hrs we logged 140nm at 5.9k.