Wednesday, March 2, 2011


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

Whoa. That's a lot of sail.
A looming blow raised that ripped jib to the top of the TO DO list this week.

The last time we had removed the jib from its furler, things went a little south, or not, when it wouldn't come down easily, and the wind whipped it into a bit of a clatter (perhaps loosening that seam that finally came loose?). The problem with that failed dropping was user error -- on my part. Lesson learned, this time it dropped like the barometer before a hurricane.

We gathered it on deck and hauled up the sewing machine, my friend, my enemy.

Since we are not plugged in to shore power, we had to employ the hand-crank option. Chip volunteered to crank while I wrangled that cloud of sail through the tiny foot of the machine.

Chip has very little experience with sewing and didn't understand the rules.
  1. The machine will malfunction at some point
  2. The bobbin will always run out, usually on the last 6 inches of the last seam
  3. A seam ripper is equally as important as the machine
Crank, crank, crank. "Stop." Adjust, adjust, adjust.


Crank, crank, crank. "Stop." Adjust, adjust, adjust.


We did this, hunched over the sewing machine, for about three hours with breaks for machine malfunctions (tension weirdness), human malfunctions, thread breaking, and lunch, finally reaching the last 12 inches of the seam when, of course, the bobbin ran out.

Then the needle broke.

We had to leave the last 8 inches of seam unsewn, because the bottom corner of the sail (the clew) is shored up with 5 or 6 layers of thick sail fabric, several layers more than the machine can manage. Sigh. 

I could try sewing it by hand, but we need to have the sacrificial cloth (the stuff that ripped) replaced this summer anyway, so I'm taking a chance.

The sail went back into place effortlessly, (!) and as we were cleaning up, I went below, just in time to hear:

"Cara Mia. Cara Mia. This is 5th Element."

It was our friends from home, Wes and Snow, pulling into OUR harbor.

One too short evening of catching up before they headed north, toward home. Two ships passing -- happily -- for one night!

Happy reunion with Wes and Snow.
5th Element and Cara Mia

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