May 4

Good morning. I didn't write after 6pm last night, mostly because I was exhausted. At 4am I sent yesterday's log in and felt bad that it did not include the events of yesterday evening. At 6pm in about 40k of wind from the SW we had the traveller car for the staysail self-tacking jib-boom (whoa, that's a lot of words to name something) just kinda blow up. I found it on deck later with a big chunk missing from it. The stopper was missing completely. A traveller car, BTW, is a rolling car with a shackle on top of it that slides back and forth (port to starboard and vise-versa) on a track bolted to the deck. The stopper looks like a car but it does not roll, it has a pin in it that sticks into a hole in the track.

Anyway, the stopper came off apparently, the car may have smashed into it or something, I don't know. The net effect was the jib boom flew up in the air - anchored only at the forward end now to the staysail's forestay turnbuckle - and wrapper around the stay one revolution clockwise. Now all the lines led aft were wrapped around the turnbuckle, the furler drum was detached and hanging, the furling line was wrapped around the stud underneath the drum 4 or 5 times and of course the line which was connecting the end of the boom to the traveller car just swung limp through the air. I had to lasso the boom, lash it down using a mast winch, then untangle the mess. I reattached the sheet to a pad-eye on deck (instead of to the now defunct traveller car) and then noticed that the outhaul (which holds the sail to the end of the boom) was about 3 threads out of 100 left holding it together. If it let go the sail would go flying off. Did I mention it was blowing 45k by now. Though in fact I was really quite dry on the foredeck in full foulies and boots (I even had little sock warmer pillows in my boots) but I was getting soaked now and again as the bow plunged in and out of the sea.

I lashed the clew of the sail to the end of the jib boom and took up the slack on the sheet and just then the outhaul snapped, the lashing taking up the slack and holding the sail to the boom end. Well, next I un-rove all the control lines (which run aft along the side of the boat) and untangled them (at that point I had not noticed the furler line was also wrapped around the stud several times) and re-rove them. Everything seemed stable and I was exhausted so we decided to let it be for the night. We continued to have winds in the 30-40k range all night, mostly around 35k. I didn't address the furler issue till the morning when I un-rove the fuler (again) and this time unwound it manually from around the drum stud. I re rove everything again and this time pulled out the slack and it looks good. Only thing now is that to furl the sail I need to rig something to allow the pressure to be removed from the staysail clew gradually (like a sheet on a furling jib does when furling). No big deal.

I am still a bit concerned about the condition of the staysail stay and associated gear. It took quite a beating and was being torqued around quite harshly for a while. The fittings all look very banged up and (not addressing the damn traveller cars for now) I notice that all of the shackles, pins, etc. all look a bit undersize considering the loads.

It is now 10am and we are making about 6.5k on a course of 14 True. The wind has slacked a bit and is in the 20-25 range. We have 544 miles to go to reach South Minerva Reef, 955nm to reach Savusavu, Fiji.

At 6:30pm I can report that we have had a very relaxed day relative to yesterday. Jonah is feeling much better and has been eating since about noon, giggling and not feeling seasick. The sea has calmed a bit with the winds dropping down from yesterday's highs. We are now making about 7.5k on a course of 14T in winds of 17-25k from the SW, mostly in the 20-22k range.