Passage to Tunisia – A Long Morning

The next morning we were roused at sunrise under cloudy skies. Winds were 18 knts with gusts to 20. Sylvie was now skipper and John & I were replacing her & Jeremy on watch. She suggested we put in a reef while she was still on deck to help out. I took the helm and tried to bring the nose into the wind, easing the tension on the sails as John & Sylvie went forward. She initially tried to locate the reef lines then realized something wasn’t right at the main. She went up to the mast & discovered that unfortunately the lines for the reefs weren’t tied properly into the main. She was working on the lines and above the noise of the wind, was asking us for the current wind speed. I yelled to her “20 knots” but she couldn’t hear so I yelled a couple more times, each time she kept asking and finally John bellowed to her “20 knots”.

About this time, I noticed something peculiar with the jib and asked John what was wrong. It seems that in her haste, Sylvie had mistaken the lines and released the wrong clutch instead of the reef line clutch, and had started to drop the jib – yikes! She was still at the mast trying to sort the reef line and somehow managed to catch her foot in her harness hanging loosely from her life vest – oh my! At this point I said to John that she needed to come away from the mast before something serious happened. We were all really tired, winds were strong and it was no time to be taking unnecessary risks.

John quickly decided that since the reef wasn’t working, we would just drop the main. That settled things down immensely. Sylvie was safely back at the stern again and I went below so the two of them could have a chat to “clear the air”.

After a coffee, John went to the mast and sorted the reef lines so by 8am we were able to raise the main to the first reef. Winds were about 14 knots, the skies were clearing and by 10 am, winds became steady at 10 knts so we raised the main to full. Winds were on our nose, so we tacked a few times, trying to maintain our bearing. Unfortunately I wasn’t feeling great again and needed another seasickness pill before lunch 🙁

Since winds were on the nose, we weren’t making great progress and by early afternoon, started motoring along at about 6 kts. John & I took advantage of the “quiet time” to catch a nap.

We had decided on 4 hr watches and John & I were on from 8-midnight. We were motoring along with the wind steady on our nose. Surprising how it didn’t really vary at all. Because we needed to be back in Malta to catch our Saturday morning flight, sailing and tacking wasn’t going to work. We found the 4 hour evening watch very long and quiet, with the only interesting incident being an oil rig off in the distance which greatly resembled an Eiffel tower sitting in the middle of the Mediterranean. By the end of the watch we were still motoring but making decent progress, anticipating arrival in Malta in time for breakfast.

Passage to Tunisia - A Long Morning
Passage to Tunisia – The Last Leg

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