Sunday, June 17, 2007

June 16, 2007 - Pacific Crossing, Day 14

I brought this upon myself. Clearly, my statements about being bored in yesterday's post must have ticked off some weather god. We've spent the day paying for my discontent. Just after midnight, squall lines started marching across our track. Just before dawn, a squall swept through, accompanied by a wicked wind shift. We had our first accidental jibe of the crossing, breaking the jerry-rigged rigid boom vang, blowing out the temporary 4-to-1 block vang system, and tearing out one of the bimini supports. Not bored anymore! We scrambled to furl in the jib, tie down the various pieces of the rigid vang and re-rig the jerry-rigged temporary vang. The damage was actually pretty minimal. The preventer did its job and kept the boom from swinging more than a few feet across.

Squalls marching across our path:

I had been sleeping, off watch, when the squall hit. I scrambled onto deck without dressing or grabbing any foul weather gear. Within moments of working in the driving rain I was shivering. Sten, just in a pair of shorts, was also cold and wet. Just after that first squall, we were down below having coffee, trying to warm up, when we heard a hissing noise. We looked at each other, alarmed, wondering what could have punctured. As I sniffed for propane and checked the bottle of refrigerant in the engine room, Sten went up to the cockpit to check the jerry cans. He discovered that one of our life vests had inflated. They are designed to automatically inflate if you fall in the water. We had gotten wet enough in the rain to trigger the inflation. We've never inflated one before, so this is a pretty good test of how long it will remain inflated. 10 hours later and it is still pretty firm.

The squalls have continued on and off all day. Watch tonight will certainly be more demanding than it has been lately.

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