Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Twister Olympics

One of the major jobs in getting ready to store our boat is to remove all of the sails. Taking down the main sail (the one that goes up the mast) went relatively smoothly and we took it up to a sail repair loft for minor patchups from the 3000 mile starboard tack along the coast of Brazil. This means that the wind was coming from the same direction for three weeks, the starboard or right side, and the sail ended up with some wearing where it chafed on the batten pockets (battens are long thin fiberglass strips spanning horizontally along the sail to give the sail some structure). We got smart and used the main halyard, the rope used to raise the sail, as an electronic lift to take the 120 pound sailbag off of the boat. I was the lift operator, pushing the button on the winch to raise and lower the halyard, while Craig directed the bag onto the dock and into a cart. 
The forward sails were a bit trickier. The screecher was the largest one we had up, and folding it was like playing an extreme game of Twister. It is too large to spread out on the deck to begin with, so we had to leave it in a pile while we began folding. Think of accordian-folding a triangular napkin like a fan and that is what we were trying to do with a 50x20 foot sheet of mylar. This beautiful sail is what we use in light winds as it has a huge area and is made of light material. We were pretty smug about folding it, having watched the sail repair guys fold our mainsail in a jiffy. We started by each of us standing at opposite ends of the sail base, putting a foot on a corner, the other foot where we wanted the fold, and folding the sail over our feet at the fold. Move the first foot forward once the fold is done, place the other foot under the next fold, and voila! Everything was fine and dandy until the wind came up, hence the commencement of Extreme Twister. Because of the light material, the giant sail started ballooning and floating up so our hands and feet went flying as we tried to place them strategically to keep it down. Mylar fabric is as slippery as oil on a garbage bag and I lost the game when I threw my whole body onto the sail to avoid liftoff and ended up sliding into the middle of our perfect folds. I almost gave up but Craig salvaged the giant fan with me inside and we eventually got it into the bag. I’m sure we got a standing ovation from our dock neighbours for this gold medal performance. That was enough for one day so we headed to the pool for a break.

We continue to enjoy firefly watching at the Bamboo Cathedral pathway. Last week we walked to the top through the bamboo archways where a cold-war looking satellite dish sits rusting among decaying tin buildings. Our Peake’s BBQ friends Vicki and Porter came with us, and Vicki and I briefly posed at the base of this daunting structure, hoping not to be beamed up to a hovering Russian spaceship. As always, the walk down after sunset was breathtaking as thousands of insects lit up the trail with florescent sparks. It was a calm evening and several bats swooped down around us, adding to the mystique of the showers of light. 

We haul out tomorrow morning so will enjoy our last afternoon at the pool, topped by the ever exciting Peake’s BBQ this evening. 

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