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Aannsha’s Blog #183 – Mainsail jammed as we anchor!

Updated: Jun 19, 2021

Leaving Asin Koyu

We had a 23 nautical mile journey ahead of us to get from Asin Koyu to the big bay of Yalikavak, where we had a choice of two anchorages. At 9.25am the weather was mild, there was a slight haze and the 3 knots (true) wind meant the sea was calm as we motored out of the bay.

We passed a few tankers on the way out of the bay and Baz reflected on when we passed one in Greece as we went south from Porto Rafti to Sounion. That day, it looked as if the tanker was anchored, but as we soon realised after we got several very loud hoots from its very large horn, it had begun to make way. With it fast increasing its speed, if we continued on our course, we would have been cut in two! Baz made a quick decision and hurled A B Sea hard to starboard, making a 90 degree turn. We passed close along the tanker’s port side and made sure we kept well clear of its very large props astern, in awe of its massive proportions.

As we approached the bow of one of the tankers in Asin Koyu’s large bay, Baz (who had learned a lesson in Greece), highlighted it on our AIS so he would know if it began to move. He also kept an eye out for smoke coming out of its exhaust stack and for water gushing out of the freighter’s bow. That would indicate they were upping anchor, and washing the salt water and mud off the chain with fresh water.

This time we passed uneventfully and continued our passage to Yalikavak.

The wind increases to 26+ knots

Baz had decided on taking the route on the outside of the island around the headland, to make the most of the available wind, and get the sails out. Well, we got plenty of wind! With both sails out reefed, we turned off the engine and enjoyed 6 knots of speed.

Two fish farms were in front of us and Baz decided to ‘thread the needle’ between the two farms. It was a big needle and we made it through without incident.

Mainsail jams – can we free it?

Just after 12pm we had made it around the headland and were making our way towards the anchorages opposite Yalikavak. All was going well and we brought in the headsail. That was fine. We then got in position to bring in the main. The first thing I noticed was a painful squeaking sound as Baz made a few turns of the winch.

He asked me to loosen my grip on the outhaul line. It was already loose. He realised that the trouble was somewhere on the inhaul line and tracking it up and around the boom, Baz discovered that the problem was in one of the blocks that the line runs through. The block (which was an original one from 1995) had failed and the line had jumped between the wheel and the cheek of the block. The tension on the line meant it was well and truly jammed. It took Baz a lot of brute force to free the line and pop it back on the block wheel.

We tried furling it in again. The line popped out of place and got jammed again.

This time Baz couldn’t free it.

“We’ll have to anchor with the sail out”, he said.

As we point into the wind to anchor, there was no major wind force on the sail, so anchoring wasn’t actually a problem. We were both relieved to be anchored and Baz now put his mind to getting the sail away.

Wrestling with the sail

We either had to get the sail away, or bring it down, otherwise it could pose a problem if the wind picked up and worst case scenario, it could get ripped.

Baz tried freeing the line from the block again but couldn’t. So he decided to try either tie up the sail, or if that didn’t work, bring it down.

By this point, the wind was picking up. Typical.

We got a line attached to the boom to act as a preventer and stop it from moving as we worked with the sail.

We then tried to drop the sail, but it only seemed to move a few centimetres. After a lot of sail fluttering and us struggling, we gave up on that idea.

Okay, next plan was to tie the sail to the mast. We manually released the outhaul line and Baz pushed the sail forward to the mast. Then he directed me to get another line, attach it to the mast end of the boom in the hope that we could wrap it around the sail enough to keep it from flapping about.

Easier said than done.

Our mainsail is still fairly new and is crispy and shiny. I couldn’t get the line high enough up on the sail to trap enough of it between the line and the mast. Baz was telling me to hurry up because he was struggling to keep it close to the mast. The wind had other ideas and I felt as if I was being shaken like a rag doll in a dog’s mouth, as the wind caught the sail and I hung on trying to get it under control.

Baz’s earlier words of “Second rule: don’t try to fight against the wind” wryly sprang to mind. (Watch the video here for the first rule).

That plan was soon abandoned as Baz returned to trying to free the inhaul from the block.

“I want to put a spare block on this line and use that instead,” he shouted over the wind. He got a spare block (we have lots for times such as this one) and in a fairly quick time we had it threaded onto the inhaul.

This time, armed with a sturdy screwdriver, Baz used more brute force and eventually got the line switched over to the new block.

We furled in the mainsail and hi-fived! Wow, what a relief!

Now the sharp-witted among you may be wondering if we attempted to re-hoist the mainsail before furling it away. Did we? And if we didn’t, did it cause us problems later on? Keep reading these blogs and keep watching our videos to find out, lol!

Bloggus interruptus

While I was writing this blog, sitting on deck with Baz writing his opposite me, our buddy boat mate Kev (who was anchored next to us) called us. The wind had picked up and as we were in quite a large bay with a fair amount of fetch, it was getting a bit bouncy. Kev had decided to move and we followed. We left the drop dead gorgeous turquoise/aqua/sapphire blue water and took a short cut across a shallow area of sand into the larger bay of Bozborun.

We headed up into a smaller bay to the left of Bozborun as you look at the chart. We have anchored in mud and are surrounded by soft rolling scrub covered rocky hills. It is much quieter here as where we were also seemed to be a thoroughfare for yachts and gullets. I’m glad we moved.

To watch this YouTube episode, just click here.

So, now I’ve finished my blog. I hope you’ve had a great week. And until next week, I wish you health, wealth and courage, as you take the actions to bring your dreams to life.

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