Friday, 13 November 2015

Madagascar To Mozambique - Things That Go Bang In The Night

Destined for Richards Bay in South Africa, we departed Madagascar in loose company with four other yachts.  The weather in this area needs to be carefully monitored, and voyage plans are often modified to find shelter in safe harbour.  Our "weather window" on departure was reasonable, however a very strong southerly front sent us scurrying into Basaruto, on the Mozambique coast, after 4 days at sea.

Temporary Boom Repairs
For a voyage that was fast and reasonably comfortable, we managed to break a surprising amount of gear along the way !  On the first night out we were caught by a 40 knot squall that jibed the mainsail very quickly, snapping the 19mm diameter stainless steel bail on the boom where the mainsheet and preventer line were attached. Later examination showed crevice corrosion on that part, where it failed just below the weld.

It also sheared the 5/16" bolts that locked the main sheet traveler car to the sheet block.   Fortunately the boom came to rest against the running backstay which (amazingly) held up to the impact and kept the boom under control.

After lashing the boom in place we dropped the mainsail and proceeded under genoa alone until daylight, when we could effect repairs.  Next morning we used a 1000 kg rated lifting sling, wrapped around the boom, as the new mainsheet and preventer attachment.  The main sheet track then had to be removed from the deck to access the sheet block car.  We repaired that easily enough, customising bolts from stock to suit and then re-assembled it, just like new. The broken (and very bent) stainless steel bale was then cut from the boom using an angle grinder.  All was completed by lunchtime, in relatively calm seas, and we were able to hoist the mainsail and gather boat speed again.

24 hours later, in heavier winds, the outhaul on the mainsail failed when a spectra lashing gave way, leading to a couple of broken slides in the boom and two significant tears in the sail.  Fortunately these were low down in the body of the sail, and we were able to continue by lowering the sail to the first reef point.

SV Sage Under Tow
Approaching the Mozambique coast we were contacted on HF radio by another vessel that needed assistance as their engine had failed.

After anchoring close to them overnight, we towed them into the anchorage the next morning and settled down to wait for the southerly blow.

By the time we arrived at Bazaruto we were ready for a break, and were welcomed to the coast of Africa by these friendly spinner dolphins with an excited aerial show that immediately brought our sense of humor back.

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