Sailing from Namibia to St Helena, Day 1

Saturday, March 2nd, 2019

We left Walvis Bay, Namibia, this morning. We started off for the first several hours with the motor and sails as there wasn’t enough wind to push along without some help from the motor. A few hours later, however, the wind picked up and we are only running the motor for some battery anomalies we’ve been seeing. Basically, the motor has been idling while we’ve been sailing.

About an hour or so ago, the wind started picking up some more and we noticed the boat was being tossed around a little. That’s when we put in the first reef. Over the past hour I have put 2 reefs in the genoa or front sail and both reefs in the mainsail as the wind has gotten more aggressive.

For those of you unfamiliar with reefing, it is basically reducing the surface area of the sails to protect the sails and the boat from being overpowered by the wind. Sails can be torn and masts can be demasted in strong winds. In the case of the genoa, it is on a furler or wrapped around itself, so it just has to be furled in to reef and out to shake the reefs. With the mainsail, 2 different sets of lines (ropes) and pulleys pull the sail down to reduce it and make it taut, or 4 lines to make it happen.

It’s been fun doing this all by myself today and trying to get the reefs in properly, or “proply” as my South African friends like to say. Putting the 2nd reef in, I had some problems with the back or clew reef. I couldn’t get it to pull the sail back and taut and with the sea state I didn’t feel comfortable going up on deck without a harness on. So, I grabbed a harness and climbed up to see what the problem was, and clipped myself in for safety. A piece of the reefed sail had gotten stuck in the pulley and was stopping the reef from pulling taught. I released the clew reef line, went back up and pulled the sail out the pulley, and then retightened the line. Now the shape of the mainsail looks correct and is “proply” reefed.

We are doing about 6 knots and it’s 1180 nautical miles to go to St Helena. If this wind keeps up, we’ll make it there in 8-9 days. Wouldn’t that be a treat? YES, IT WOULD!

Thanks for following along on my journey. Don’t forget to subscribe in the email below or find and like my Facebook page, Living Large by Living Little. You can also find me the same way on Instagram and Twitter. Let me know if you have any questions about sailing or my journey in the comments below.

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