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Aannsha’s Blog #95 – Replacing the furling line

There’s usually something to fix, tweak, polish or replace on a yacht. This time it was the headsail furling line that needed replacing. And we were a tad nervous about doing it. Why? Well, we hadn’t done it before and only had vague memories of our friend Mike removing the line in Turkey in October 2018. The one thing I remembered was him saying, “Don’t let anything fall off the bow, or it’s gone for good.” You know, like the all-important nuts, bolts and screws – and in particular, the large flat head screw that holds the furling line in position in the furler mechanism.

We were having to replace the line after the outer sheath separated from the inner core when we were trying to furl the headsail away before we hit 30 knots of wind rounding the north west corner of Ios. You can read about that in my blog #93.

Sheath separated from inner core in line

Suffice it to say, that while I was charged with the job of roving camera chic, Baz had the really hard task of actually doing the job. I don’t know which is worse, doing the job and being responsible for what happens, or watching someone else doing it and having no control of the outcome. On balance, I was happy that Baz was doing this job.

Anyway, one hour and lots of held breaths later, the old furling line had been removed and the new one was firmly fixed in place. Well done Baz. We both emitted heavy sighs of relief that I reckon could almost be heard in the harbour.

Can we replace it?

After a test unfurl/furl of the headsail – yes, it was a windless day, or we may have ended up dragging anchor – Baz confirmed he was happy with the job. The only problem was that one of the original 1995 little Harken cheek/foot blocks that the furling line feeds through had cracked and some of the plastic bearings were showing. Not good.

We did have an unused one on the starboard side of A B Sea, and Baz thought maybe he could unbolt that and use it on the port side. But after pulling down the ceiling lining in the Princess Suite heads, Baz realised this wasn’t going to be a simple job after all as the bolts that held the block in place were somewhere behind the hatch panel with no easy access. Baz didn’t want to unscrew the block above the deck if he couldn’t access the nuts below because the block may end up half in and half out, loose and leaking in water.

He’s a tidy guy, so he kindly replaced the ceiling liner before moving on to Plan B. Plan B entailed the simple alternative of removing the broken port side block and temporarily filling in the holes with Sikaflex and simply feeding the line to the next block. While it is a potential trip hazard at the bow, it does actually go into the next block at a better angle and doesn’t rub against the slightly abrasive nonslip GRP. It’s a make-do mend situation until we can order a replacement (not Harken as that’s silly expensive). But it’s a decent stop gap measure.

Baz walks kilometres to get more gas

One of our gas bottles was empty and we were happy to discover from the chandlers that while they don’t exchange gas bottles, a nearby petrol station does. Baz zoomed over in the dinghy with the empty bottle to the nearest petrol station that we can see from the boat. It turns out that wasn’t the correct one and the guy pointed Baz inland, telling him it was only 2 kilometres away. Baz was happy with that. It was a hot day but he figured a 4Km round trip wouldn’t be too bad. He’s walked further. He hadn’t reckoned on the hill though! As he left the petrol pump attendant added that the place he wanted was just after the hill. So Baz slogged 2Kms up a hill with the gas bottle in his backpack!

I was at the boat doing some hand laundry – lucky me – and figured he must have gone walkabout for the gas, and didn’t worry. Baz turned up a long time later, hot, sweaty and thirsty, but happily lugging his backpack with the full gas bottle. It was a nice newly painted one too – bonus. Sometimes you get really shabby rusty replacements.

As soon as he’d put the gas safely in the aft port locker, he glugged down some water, stripped down to his shorts and dived into the cooling blue water off the back of A B Sea.

Talking of diving, we have our share of fun, skinny dipping off the yacht at midnight after my birthday dinner. But you’ll have to wait until next week to find out about that!

Entering Oh Hamos! restaurant

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