May 13, 2011
A Fouled Prop
I have fallen in love with my foul weather bibs and Gill jacket. They keep me toasty and dry. Tonight is damp and chilly so I made myself some hot tea for my night watch. I journal only during my night watch - never seem to find the time during daylight. I can see the big dipper and the milky way. Once the moon sets - the stars light up as if they were turned on. Owen is snoring - very tired from his impromptu swim yesterday. He had to rescue a fouled prop. We forgot to check the lines before we started the engine. The end of a running backstay line had washed overboard through a scupper during the last stormy night. With a rope attached to his middle, while Tamsyn and I watched for shark fins, Owen anxiously descended the swim ladder (off the starboard beam) into the deep blue chilly Pacific Ocean. We had reduced sail and were moving at about 2 knots (we thought that that would be slow enough) but Owen, a strong swimmer, could hardly keep abreast of the boat - he came back aboard exhausted and cold - the prop still fouled. The water rushing past the boat was too swift - so we reduced sail again until we weren't moving at all, then after he was warm enough again he went back into the water. This time he was able to cut the back stay line and free up the prop. When he crawled, shivering, back on deck, we were all greatly relieved to have our captain aboard again. Now all he had to do was re-rig the running backstay again. It was times like these when I felt the most dependent on Owen. I still knew virtually nothing about sailing. When he was in the water, I would imagine what I'd need to do if I suddenly became the captain. I have a tendency to worry and the words of a trusted friend who knew me well came to mind, "97% of your fears will never come to pass."