Day 18 Update: Spinnaker Blow Out :-(

Summary: We had settled seas and a nice 12-14 kt breeze all day yesterday. Unfortunately it picked up quickly after sunset and we were too slow to get the spinnaker down before the wind took it down for us.
Position: 09 42.98 S 137 29.58 W at 12:00 UTC-7
COG: 258 degrees m
Distance: 171 nm (24 hr), 3,107 nm total
Average Speed : 7.125 kts (24 hr)
Distance to go to Hiva Oa: 93 nm
After seeing apparent gusts to 20 and dips in the water with the possibly higher winds coming, we had decided it was about time to take it down. Dave popped down below to stow a laptop when suddenly we heard a loud “bang!” He quickly returned to the cockpit followed by everyone to find the spinnaker down in the water. The top edge had torn out and then ripped along the sail tape on both sides almost all the way down to the foot. We carefully hauled the whole wet mess back onboard and rigged the genoa while we continued to sail at 3.5 kts under bare poles. No hardware or sail parts were lost, so we are hopeful it can be repaired in Tahiti. Although an errant line ripped the headlamp from Dave’s head and of course threw it immediately overboard to top off the evening. We waited too long to decide to take it down and paid the price. The mood onboard is low today, but we are fortunate that no one was hurt.
The spinnaker is made of 5 oz nylon panels sewed together in a large, semi-curved triangle. It’s made for light wind sailing when the genoa is too heavy to catch the light winds and propel us along. There are reinforcement points on the three corners – the head, the tack, and the clew – for connections to the lines. The overloaded sail ripped across the top just below the point where the panels all come together, this appears to be somewhat of a weak point.
Following this separation, the nylon ripped down both sides just inside the sail tape, which is thicker nylon folded over and sewn into this edge for reinforcement. We are hopeful that the top can be reconnected with sail tape or other material, and the existing sail tape from the edges can be reused and sewn back over the ripped edges. If this works, we’ll lose about 1″ of width on both sides. It’s not clear if the corners will still taper appropriately but we’ll find out soon as there are sail repair lofts in Nuka Hiva and Tahiti. Wish us luck in our repair efforts.
Today the wind has dropped, but we have swells from both the S and SE creating confused seas and very rocky conditions. We are disappointed in letting the spinnaker get ripped up and it doesn’t help that we again beleaguered by these rocky conditions. We made it almost the entire with no breakdowns or damage, so it is unfortunate to have let this happen on our second to last day. At least we shall arrive Hiva Oa early tomorrow morning and finally be done with this passage.
Wildlife Sightings: None

3 Replies to “Day 18 Update: Spinnaker Blow Out :-(”

  1. So sorry to hear this but glad you are all safe and fine! Get to Tahiti safely and you’ll get it fixed up there.

  2. So sorry to hear of your ordeal last night, but extremely grateful to know that you are all ok and nearing your destination. I hope you have a peaceful, uneventful night.

  3. Yep. could have been worse! Am glad no one was hurt! Did Satin bring her sewing machine? 🙂 I’ll bet there is a sail repair loft on Hiva Oa.

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