Monday, 25 April 2022

Albacore: slacking

It's been an expensive weekend. On Friday, we had Calstar lifted out of the water, and I'm currently waiting on the marina's resident engineer to give me a quote for repairing the rope cutter that sits in front of her prop. 

On Saturday, I finally caved in to my wife and agreed it was time we got another puppy. She protests that it was entirely me and my decision. I'm quite certain I did nothing but protest. I'm told diplomacy is the art of letting somebody else have your own way. My wife has clearly missed her calling.

Then on Sunday we broke the Albacore.

photo: william gardiner

It was a frisky day. Wind was north-easterly, around 15 knots, but gusting into the 20's. Scattered clouds meant the sun broke through enough to take the bite out of the breeze. It's the first time I've sailed on the lake this year with bare arms.

Two races. We sailed well, kept the boat upright and avoided any unnecessary swimming. I couldn't get much tension into the rigging however, which was very strange. We checked all the lines, nothing seemed out of place, just very slack. 

photo: william gardiner

It didn't slow us much. We took 2nd place in the first race, which I reckon was entirely down to getting mixed up with one of the Flying Fifteens. They were racing in their own fleet, so weren't really competition, but despite that, they kept getting in my way at the mark roundings, her crew calling "starboard" when they were, in fact, windward, or "no water" where they were actually not entitled to room at a windward mark.

Thing is, you don't argue with a Flying Fifteen when they're bearing down on you in any kind of breeze. They're big and heavy and don't take prisoners whether they're in the wrong or in the right.

photo: william gardiner

So I saw red, and basically sat on their wind for a lap or two until I was eventually able to lose them at a leeward mark and escape up the beat. It's not a fast way to sail, and did no favours for either us or them. But I felt better for it.

The next race, we sailed well clear of them, and they of us. And, funny enough, we both took 1st place in our respective fleets.

photo: william gardiner

Back ashore, I was still perplexed by the lack of rig tension, so went meticulously back over the adjustment controls and lines for the shrouds and jib halyard. Nothing to slip, nothing broken, nothing out of place.

Then I spotted it. For want of a better way of putting it, the foot of the mast had collapsed.

We're lucky. It could've been much worse. The glass beneath the foot had held enough to stop the mast dropping all the way through, the step was essentially held in place and warding us from further disaster by just one screw. Another heavy gybe, akin to what I think did the damage in the first place, would likely have been enough to finish us.

Taking the mast down was a bit of a challenge. The foot of the mast had wedged into the remains of the mast step, so we had to lie her on her side and finesse the mast out. But it's done, the boat is safe. All that I need do now is await, with trepidation, an estimate for the repairs.

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