What a night! Shortly after sending the preceding blog I went on deck and shook out the first reef since the winds following the squall were abating rapidly. A few minutes later I started hearing strange noises and noticed the boom was moving. The gooseneck fitting had pulled away from the mast entirely. The squall was the first strong winds we'd sailed in since our refit. On this passage I had been visually checking the mast fittings, but hadn't checked bolt tightness with a screwdriver. Apparently a big mistake. We are currrently at 06 09.6S 113 39.7E heading 140.
By that time it was dark and the sea quite lumpy so we decided to take down the main, lash everything down as best we could and wait until morning. With that done we sailed on under the headsail only at 2-4 knots all night. Quite a few squid boats about and a few cargo ships. We both spent our watches dreaming up cunning plans on how best to effect a repair.
In the morning we figured out the best plan and set to work. We removed the detached bracket from the boom and found all 10 bolts used to secure it. All 10 tapped holes in the mast had been completely stripped. We "bulked up" the bolts with gas tape and fitted the bracket to the mast with the bolts pushed through their holes. We secured the assembly in place with sail repair tape. We then used about 15 metres of VB cord to lash the bracket tightly to the mast and to provide a base for the final securing with hose clamps. We connected several hose clamps to each other, forming four long clamps in all. These were fitted around the mast over the top of the VB cord. The result looks pretty strong and we're very pleased with the result - the main is back up and our speed is back up to 5 knots in 12 knots of SW wind.
|The Jury-Rigged Repair|
When we finished the boat was surrounded by a large school of fish jumping out of the water. Natural applause! ;) We have about 60 miles to run to the passage E of Madura Island, and 230nm in total to Benoa. Just a Geraldton!