Suddenly off balance

„WHEN THE SEVENTH WAVE HIT I WAS UNDER PREPARED…“ is the beginning from a song that  came to my mind a few nights ago while Paulinchen slowly came upright again.

A few gusts in the 20 knot range had been forcasted but clearly I was underprepared. Half way enroute to Key West  60 Miles off shore in a pitch black night.

A broken SSB-Antenna remains on boar a Gulf of Mexico passage off the Florida Coast.
The Antenna remains. – Now about three feet shorter it is back up but does not work as good as before.

Just a minute before I thought about taking at least the second reef out as it calmed down a lot around sunset. Maybe later even switching for the larger genoa. But a wise sailor onece told me to never unreef before the rain stopped for a minimum of 30 minutes and there was  some drizzle falling out of an overcast sky.

The squall rushed in secretly from the dark. No lightling, no thunder. Literally quiet like air. Maybe it held around 30 Knots, more would not surprise me. No time to think no time to grab a weather gear. Paulinchen’s windvane did it’s best job. Feathering the gust, turning windward and just slowly back she gave me the time to open the main sheet and release the jib from a winch half under water.

The wind picked up for another gust that catched the solar panel and flipped it around its mount, ripping off all the screws. – Just one safety pin, that hung loose next to its hole had prevented all of this. Fortunately it fell right in the cockpit. The next crack behind me was not to avoid. The SSB-Antenna broke like a match-stick. But even if maybe unavoidable it has had seen way more wind before, so I must have overseen a crack in it.

Proken solar Panel mount on Paulinchen crossing from Appalachicola to Key West.
Also the Solar Panel will be put back in place by just having a few new holes drilled in the mount. New Boat rule: The pin stays in – even in calmest conditions

The song Limmat by The Great Park continues „… SUDDENLY OFF BALANCE SUDDENLY SCARED AND I DROPPED MY GUITAR AND I LOST MY BREATH BUT THE THOUGHT OF YOUR ARMS PULLING ME FROM THERE AND UP UP…“.

The Year 2013, so much fore sure, did start not too good and went pretty bad until now. Time to cut reality out of vision and whish: Neither is Paulinchen nor am I currently in the shape to head to remote places single hand or for weeks off-shore.

There is a long list of postponed maintanance and work put on hold due to „getting forward“ and budget. Often other more importand work had to be done. Maybe a hurrican season would help me to stay put somewhere safe and get things back in shape instead of make me rush again.  By spreading the expenses over some time the pressure might be a little less. But clearly it’s time to rethink, scratch plans, and … maybe just not make a new one for now.

Only one is to find an outboard quickly to get back behind a corner on my own hook to cure the wounds and be able to dinghi ashore to get some some tightness off the lately well overstreched credit card. – And than head on in a better condition.

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