Atlantic Crossing II
From my journal:
Woke Gene for his watch. At 8:00 as I was being tossed around in the v-berth I looked through the plexiglas hatch cover and saw the jib jibe. I heard Gene go up to set things right. I got up to go for a wee and am on the toilet when Gene yells for help!!
The monitor’s line had cut through so we had to replace the control lines. The winds were about 30 and the swell was 10 to 13 feet. I had to squeeze in between the steering wheel and Gene’s legs and feet as he hung over the stern trying to reach the pulley sheaves. He was harnessed, but I still worried about him going over and dragging behind the boat. He was behind me, as were the monster waves, so when he let out a *#&^, I thought he’d slipped and had an over-board threat. I looked behind me and he was still secure. I yelled at him for scaring me but he had a legitimate reason. He had sliced through his right pointer finger when the Monitor’s pendulum swung against his hand. It was a hairy ride and an adrenaline pumping way to start the day. P was being tossed so much we decide to have a cuppa instant rather than try making drip. After my first cup, I went up to check things out and a petrel (still a mederian?) flew/blew past the stern and disappeared behind the waves. 21*50N 23*50W.
I did the best I could dressing Gene’s finger and despite the copious amounts of blood, it wasn’t as bad as we thought it would be.
At 9:00 we got on the SSB and contacted Sandpiper and 2Extreme. Sandpiper had taken water in her both her engine and generator exhausts and had a few other things break. They made the decision to head for the Cape Verdes for repairs. 2Extreme’s wind vane paddle had broken. They had a decision to make—Cape Verdes for repair or jury-rig and continue on. We made arrangements to contact each other at noon and signed off.
We touched base at noon and Henry on 2Extreme had cut a plywood paddle for his wind-vane. He said he would have to beat and go out of his way if he went to the
Cape Verdes, and he was not going to do that. He would continue on to the Caribee.
Up for my 4:00 watch. P. taking slams from the waves. For the most part, we go alongside and over the waves, but the occasional bomb strikes and rattles the nerves. I was hoping for tacos for two nights now but it looks like sandwiches again—no hot grease in these conditions.
Around 1:30, I heard a ‘clunk’ outside the boat. Gene was sleeping (or what passes for sleep these last four days) in the main salon on the ‘low’ side settee. Normally, the watch gets that settee but a few minutes into my watch, all the books in the v-berth bookshelf were tossed out (again) when a wave-bomb hit. Gene was pelted by them just as he started to doze. Most were paperbacks, but there were a few big hardbacks. Gene got a few gouges and felt beaten up. We left the books where they were and Gene took the low side for comfort and much needed sleep. I took the aft cabin and read in there between egg timers rings. (When we are far from land, we don’t stay in the cockpit for watches. We set an egg timer for 12 minutes and go up and scan at the buzz. It also prevents nodding off!!)
When I heard the ‘outside’ clunk, I called to Gene, “What was that?”
“What was what?”
“I didn’t hear anything.”
I couldn’t believe he hadn’t heard the clunk, but I had the cockpit hatch in my cabin open; Gene was only hearing the contents of the cupboards sliding and banging, the mast clanging, the stove banging on its gimbals, and the companionway steps squeaking.
Very soon after our last sentence, we had a jibe. Gene jumped up and looked out to see the stainless hub of the Monitor’s steering wheel on the cockpit floor. The hose clamps that held the Monitor’s wheel to the ship’s wheel had rusted out and dropped off. I had to steer while Gene put new clamps on. The sea was wild and it was dark (of course). I had to move the wheel constantly to keep on course in the seas and Gene had a very tough time trying to keep a screwdriver in the screws to tighten the clamps. Thank God he bought his stupid looking miner light, trying to hold a flashlight while steering wasn’t working.
Okay, I'm sure we've both had enough for one post.