14 June 2022

Day 11 — Blue skies and sunbathing

We finally had a day that something didn't break. Hopefully that means the 'shake down' part of our cruise is over. For the most part, anyway.

This morning, we had light winds and moderate seas, so I was able to re-run our reef line through the boom, and re-do the knots that secured all three reef lines to the boom. I have a special way to do this so they are secure, but somehow in the rush to get ready I did it in a different way, and paid the price.

A picture would be worth a thousand words, but I can't post photos. We have regular slab reefing on Petronella. The reef lines go through the boom, out the end of the boom, up to the reef cringle , and down to the boom to be tied off. This is the critical part.

My 'special trick' is to then route the line over the top of the boom, around it, back up on the same side as the reef line, and then tie a bowline around the reef line. This makes a kind of slip loop around the boom that gets tighter as the wind blows.

To make it absolutely secure, sew the bowline so it can't be shaken loose. Phew.

What I'd done before leaving was the obvious, which is to just tie a bowline around the boom. This doesn't tighten and is inferior in every way, I think. I also forgot to sew the bowline shut. Anyway, it didn't work in practice. One of the reef lines that wasn't in use shook itself loose in high winds when everything was shaking.

I re-did all the other knots in the same way and now feel much more secure. It's good to have all three reefs available again. Now if I could only figure out how to rig a better topping lift. The lazy jacks are working—just—but are a bit of a hassle. Remember I'm using the topping lift as a halyard because our halyard is still stuck in the sheave at the top of the mast… something I'll write more about when I'm not so emotionally involved!

Meanwhile I'm working on tanning over the black and blue marks left from climbing the mast. Brutal!

We had another yummy meal out of our canned meal supply. This was a jar of white beans cooked in a French Provençal method with garlic and tomatoes. Helena added some lightly fried diced ham and voilà, a really delish meal in about 10 minutes. These homemade canned meals are a total success.
Why can't companies make these kind of healthy prepared meals? A mystery.

Helena and I agree that we are really in the offshore sailing groove now. We have settled into our 4 hour watches, and are feeling very well rested and happy. Oddly, neither of us feel like we are isolated from the world out here. The 4-6 big ships that pass close enough to see on the AIS help, I suppose, but it's more than that. I don't think I can explain it yet. Maybe later.

However, all is well at the moment as we head into another night watch.


  1. Hi J&H so glad to hear you are in the groove and the sea and winds are cooperating. I was wondering what you were using to hoist your main sail. The topping lift of course. Love reading your posts.

    1. Yes, we had a rough start, but it just made the rest of the voyage sweeter.

  2. Only 10 days in and your posts are already as good as reading another Horatio Hornblower book! (only without the battles, fortunately). Love reading your journey.

    1. Well, stuff definitely happens out there, no boring days!


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