A Saga of Sails

July 19, 2012

Marsden Cove, NZ

By: Kerry

One of the things in our favour – in fact, the main reason we could afford the boat in the first place – is the current strength of the Aussie dollar. Amongst other things, it has meant we could afford super sexy sails: instead of your Spectra or Dacron, we ordered ourselves a new suit of sails made of state of the art carbon membrane.

KerryKerry at KeriKeri

KerryKerry at KeriKeri

Of course, that involved delays, as the fabric is cut and shaped and shipped from South Africa, but that was OK. We went up to Keri Keri (like Woy Woy, a town so good they named it twice) to the sail loft to see the sails under construction and once again, like many things with this boat, we were rather blown away by the size. The main sail took up the entire floor space of the loft – if you look at the picture and squint, you can see me and Craig the sail maker standing at the far end of the sail.New mainsail in loft-0042

After all the hassle and dramas of the boat yard, and the months waiting for the new sails (the main alone took four weeks to build and cost several arms and legs), we were really excited about getting the new sails on board and – finally – going sailing.

The night before the scheduled sail trial, it blew 30 knots all night through the marina and we barely slept with creaking dock-lines and the anticipation of having to maneuver the boat the following day in really strong winds…

Fortunately, the wind died overnight, and Friday dawned sunny and calm.

Craig the sail maker arrived at 0930. We got the gennaker on, hoisted and furled – all sweet. Got the main onboard, battens in and dragged it up onto the coach house roof ready to get it onto the boom/mast.

Just as it was about to go up, I said, ‘What’s that?’.

And we all nearly cried.

As it was dragged up onto the roof, the sail must have snagged a sharp point on the corner of one of the solar panels and had torn a 60cm gash in the sail. We couldn’t believe it. Totally gutted – us AND the sail maker AND the sail maker’s assistant.

Turns out, there are actually several ‘grazes’ and small tears – luckily none have gone right through. On the up-side, it’s along the foot of the sail, which doesn’t bear as much load, and the carbon fibres themselves don’t appear to be damaged, just the top layer of sail cloth. But it had to be hauled off and Craig took it back to Keri Keri to be repaired: our brand new sail is going to have patches on it.

After Craig left and I’d cried a bit, we figured the only thing to do at that point was drink a bottle of wine.

So what if it was 11.30am.

~~~ ><(((°>  ><(((°> ><(((°> ~~~

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