Mechanical Failure, not even a hesitation of next step

As skipper, all things that are more than “what do you want to eat”, I need to be consulted.  I sleep, but one ear always open for a radio burst with the word Gemini in it…or someone calling my name…and that is what happened at about 42.42 latitude and 134.03 longitude: “the inhaul will not haul the sail in, the line is slack and the mainsail is 100% out…with winds over 25k, we need a smaller main…

I jump off my bunkie (like a pilot berth, aft stbd in the older Jeanneaus, I love it!) and I clipped in and headed to the mast…sure enough I could see the base of the furler mechanism trying to jump out of the mast, and the winding gear was leaning fwd in the mast…so these two were not going to meet: and on closer examination: the pin or similar holding them in line was gone…sheared, broken…who can tell at this time, but a heaving deck and rising wind not the place to disassemble an in-mast furler…yes, I am aware of the risks of an in mast furler for offshore…”what if it jams…”, “what if…” what if…”….well “what if”  has happened.

So now, a “deal with the what if”….so drop the main, hoist the trysail, drop the boom, sounds complicated, but I had just done it a week before, solo,  to be sure it all hoisted quickly and safely…and I gave all the orders.

“I am sorry to report we have to turn around…”

The crew was great: “how about if we do this”…or “how about we try to reef the main onto the boom”…can’t unless we sew in proper cringles…again hard to do on the deck…for a first time…

So, as the luff was not secure in

Boom is down, trysail is rigged and performed admirably…the color was very fetching too…

the mast, it would rip out (think luff that you run the sail into…but then that luff is not attached to anything except at the top, but has a round, heavy furling base where the tack of the sail attaches, and as it was bouncing up and down, occasionally on the lip of the mast edge it sat below…dangerous, and useless…!) and the mainsail cannot sit in the emergency storm sail track…

So, I looked at it and i knew it was not usable….and that I had to tell the crew:  “we have to turn around, we cannot continue”…it was very tough after two years of planning…and my crew was disappointed, (especially Elaine whom we invited after Charger had their mast issue…) but were confident in my decision…as I was…even though it brought a 15 minute bout of sadness I would not be with my fellow sailors in Maui…and we had a slip in the Marina…we would not be able to hug all of the volunteer guest committee of the amazing Jan Nolan…

However, we got the trysail up on its track, we pushed the mainsail down the companionway…then worked on the incessant clanging of the luff tube as it banged back and forth all the way to Victoria!! 😉

I jammed a few soft items in there to muffle the sound…it was a constant banging, a sound similar to both a luffing sail, and pounding at the same time…with irregular metal clangs…24/7…and no one went crazy…it was just part of the ride…

The way home was actually pretty straight sailing…with 2 gales we ran into…just as predicted…but still crazy with 12′-15′ seas and winds to 35k, with gusts higher…but the trysail was awesome!! we left a scrap of genoa out…overall it was a super exciting ride!

More later…basically, how to easily move forward when a dream turns out the opposite as planned, “Attitude determines if it is an ordeal, or an adventure”…I look at it all as Adventure!!!

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