Friday, February 25, 2011


Black Point, Exumas 24º6.04N | 76º24.12W

Anchorage at Black Point Settlement on Great Guana Cay.
Sailing is a humbling occupation offering infinite ways to challenge, confound and embarrass yourself. It's like the first day of school or a new job -- every day -- rife with new opportunities to prove you're an amateur. It is not possible to be bored, because you're waiting to see what will go wrong next.

Today's forecast called for 10-12 knot winds from the northeast, dropping and shifting to southeast mid- to late afternoon. We left Sampson for a short, less than 10-mile, hop to Black Point just before 9 a.m. to take advantage of favorable winds.

Leaving the anchorage we headed southwest-ish looking resplendent flying the main and jib side by side in my favorite point of sail, wing on wing.

As we turned south around Sandy Cay, it was apparent that the wind was already shifting to the southeast, which would be, of course, right in our face on the next turn. We headed out into the Exuma Banks hoping to be able to tack back toward Black Point once we passed Harvey Cay, sailing the whole way.

We never saw the predicted 10-12 knots, rather 15 at first soon picking up to 20+ with squalls on the horizon ahead. Chip was thrilled to find he could get Cara Mia moving at almost 8 knots despite my complaints about weather helm.

This concludes the peaceful portion of the sail.

Next we had a fight about, well, we're not really sure. That's how those married fights go.

Then we decided to reef, using our new, untried reefing rig.

When we turned into the wind, the jib got away from us, flapping like a coop full of scared hens and just as noisy. The jib lines got all twangled, around themselves and in the standing rigging. You don't really notice how much stuff there is overhead on a sailboat until it all starts weaving itself around each other. That took some time to wrestle under control.

Then the new reefing ring kept coming off the new horn that was supposed to hold the now-smaller sail in place. Put it back on. It comes off again. Repeat.

Everything finally started working harmoniously, just as the wind dropped down below 10 knots right outside Black Point harbor.

That's when I noticed the the entire back seam of the jib had ripped out while it was flapping in the wind.

If you look closely, you can see
 the leech line dangling behind the jib.
We pulled in the sails and humbly dropped anchor in Black Point, happy that our boat performs flawlessly even when we don't.

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