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Day 2 Sharks and Lost Prop

Posted on Wednesday Apr 16, 2008

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We had another good sailing day, covering about 120 miles and sailing for about 20 hours. At one point we had a shark following our boat, a big grey sucker. Sherrell said it looked like a nurse shark, but I think it might be a doctor shark. Anyway it got bored quickly and took off.

However our spirits were dampened when Batwing called us in the morning to report a problem -- they lost their prop. Somehow it had become detached from their shaft and lost to the deep. You might think, well, it's a sailboat, so sail. Unfortunately Batwing is a junk rigged sailboat and this is a mostly upwind passage, junk rigs don't like going upwind. So we've spent quite a bit of time debugging his problem to determine it is hopeless then the rest of the day trying to match his sailing speed. I can honestly say I've never worked so hard to go so slow in my life. We often have two reefs in the jib and two in the mainsail just to go slow enough to stay with them. Their orginal stragety for this passage was to motorsail upwind the whole way if necessary, but with no prop and the current pushing them SW, they were screwed.

For us, it got to the point where we couldn't use the autopilot to steer because our boat speed was so slow and hand steering 300 miles was really looking depressing. So Leonides the other boat with us has now taken Batwing into tow. We're not going much faster, but the speed is constant and we can at least head in the right direction. The bonus is the added speed lets us use our autopilot again. So rather than the fast 4-5 day passage we were looking at achieving, I expect we'll be out here for a while longer.

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