Bermuda – 8am – 11/11/11 (great date!)
All is fine onboard Morpheus this morning. Tropical Storm Sean decided to spare us the bulk of it's anger and vented a good deal of it prior to arrival. We have seen some gusts in excess of 40 knots, and Bermuda Radio which is positioned on top of the tallest hill of the island reported gusts in excess of 60 knots. I think we are on the downslope of Seans influence now and are seeing steady high 20's with gusts to 35. Next we get the combined/reinforced flow of the SW corner of Sean's low pressure system, and the SE corner of the high pressure system moving in. The good times never stop here in Bermuda!!
Anyway, the lesson…
Yesterday, in preparation for the storm, I removed the jib sheets to reduce windage and tied the clew of our roller furling jib tightly around the headstay with a short piece of line. This seemed like a great thing to do, clearly the jib could not unwind itself if I tied it this way??? I was under the impression that this was the ultra safe way to leave things.
Well, as I've said before the boat is always trying to find ways to break and unfortunately many times it's clever enough to get the better of us. This was another case.
I've never seen this before, but the strong winds seem to have caught a small section of the jib up high towards the top of the headstay and worked it loose. To get loose that section had to obtain slack in the system by pulling the wraps of the jib up the headstay. Because of the way I tied things, the sail could not unwind, but there was nothing holding it down!!
So, we had a 3am drill where eventually about 3 sq. ft of the sail was exposed near the top of the headstay. We had to pull the wraps of the sail down during lulls in order for me to reach the line holding the clew. Not easy in 40 knots, but we did it. Then released the roller furling line so the entire sail was free (that was noisy!) and then dropped the sail to the deck. Very exciting and I'm sure that we woke more than a few people up during that exercise!
Damage was not too bad. Looks like the leech of the sail will need to be refinished as it basically blew the cover finishing that edge right off the sail! As I said, 40 knots is windy powerful stuff!!
The best news is the anchor held perfectly through all of this and we did not drift down on any of our neighbors!
1) Leave your jib sheets on and make sure your roller furling jib is tightly wrapped.
2) Even better, when you have time and know a storm is coming – take your jib off the headstay and store it below.
Thats all for now. If we keep doing this we will have it all figured out in about 10 more years!!!
-Jim and Deb
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