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Old 08-11-2014
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Re: Big Freakin' Sails

How's this contribution? October 1995, l was crew on an engineless 29ft sloop. The owner, a non-sailing woman and me. I figured it would add to my skills for a trip from Florida to Belize and back. A fine sail down to Isle Mujeres it was to enter. While there l met a norwegian girl and had 9 fun days with her. 2 ships that pass in the night we thought. Engineless is interesting, but on with the story. It is about a 6 day sleigh ride home from Belize. Ours took 16 early January. SW of Cuba it didn't look good. The winds went too light and dark ominous clouds were interlaced with heat lightning. An awesome spectacle. The next day high headwinds and building seas. Easily 15ft+ heavy rollers out of the north, but not breaking. Absurd weather for January. We heave-to with a parachute and watch for chafe. Several hours go by, then boom, our rudder gets a smash from a breaking wave that breaks the tiller. Jury rigged with vice-grips we sail on into the night. The owner wants to get home. We make it through one night, but not the next night without further damage. We loose the mast over the spreaders. The weather hasn't changed. It's cold. We aren't prepared for it. We jury-rig again, secure what we can, and sail on. The boat is starting to look like shite inside and fatigue is showing its ugly head. The next night we lose the whole shooting match over the side. He likes yelling, l don't. I know he's tired and scared, so is the woman. Just getting finished fishing in Alaska for a year myself, I'm ok. Now we rig the boom as our mast and take the jibhead to the bow, tack to the top of the mast and sheets to the clew. It starts to become apparent l have a more level head about things and the "captain" doesn't like it. Hell, l seen this kind of stuff in Alaska. For example, his favorite knot is 8 clove hitches to secure the mast and just balks at my trucker hitch suggestion. "Hummf, what do you know about sailing!" Nothing but a 100 ton cert and my AB card hasn't taught me l say. Anyhow, rigged, we sail on. They run out of cigarettes. Anyone who knows this problem, knows it's a problem. Irritation sets in without them quickly. We have water, but food is a problem now. The weather is abating. For the next days we each get one bowl of rice each day. 3 days later, we flare a fishing boat, bum Kent menthols, some rolls and sail onwards. I got to hand it to him though, we popped out of the clouds 2 days later at home. He and the woman dingy in to rent a tow, spend the night, and get me the next day. We sailed through "The Blizzard of 96" (Look it up on the NOAA website). I go see my friends who give me a letter from a crazy norwegian girl who was here looking for me. It reads "Call me, I'm pregnant "...., but that is another story.

Lesson learned you ask? Quality condoms are a must for cruising.
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Last edited by Andrew65; 08-11-2014 at 06:41 PM.
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