Day 4 Bolt Out of the Blue

Heading 020/030 at about 5kn in a flat sea; another beautiful day gliding along although hardly closing the Azores. Suddenly I noticed a piece of plastic by the mid-ship cleat. Picking it up it looked like a piece of sheave so out came the binoculars to pan round the mast head. Can’t see anything amiss. Puzzling, what did fall out of the sky 3 days ago?

Minutes later….and there it was. A bolt, one of four, fastening the vang to the boom had sheared and it was the bolt head that had fallen on the doghouse window. Looks like an M10 so a bit surprised it has sheared. I carry lots of stud extraction gear but realistically the chances of removing the stud underway are remote.

So what about the sheave? Turns out it’s the main halyard block Lewmar No. 3 that’s been shredded. Quick trip to the chandlery (a walk round deck to see what we can re-deploy) and the only short-term answer was to use a thimble lashed to the toe rail (note to self never buy a yacht that doesn’t have a solid perforated toe rail! And buy more thimbles). We may have to declare our systems slightly bruised and sail softly to nurse the main halyard and avoid loading the thimble which I think has a 2 tonne working load. Running a soft foot at tack and clew to avoid any sail tension loading.

One sail change this morning to avoid a squall which promptly evaporated about a mile ahead after reefing.

DTG 1810nm (about 2 more days to clear the insurers hurricane exclusion zone)
Barometer 1019
Galley: Turkey Club Sandwich and Italian hot sausage with mash


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