How’d that happen?
I recently completed the ARC with three friends of 30 years’ standing. During the trip, we replaced the sheets with longer ones in order to set up the twin headsails. One morning, I came up on deck and noticed one of the stanchions was bent backwards at an extreme angle. For the next week or so, we all proposed a number of different theories as to how this might have happened but we never got to the bottom of it. After 22 days, we arrived in St Lucia safe and sound with no further mishaps and retired to a local café for a celebratory breakfast. The subject of the bent stanchion came up again but this time, a crewmember said he knew exactly how it had happened. One night when he was on watch, he’d decided to put a reef in as the wind was picking up. Having let the sails out to ease the strain on the furling line, he then started to winch in the sail. Unfortunately, he’d picked up the original short sheet which had been loosely attached to the rail. As he winched, he met some resistance but thought it was just the pressure of the wind. It was then he realised his mistake. Luckily, the skipper found the whole thing as funny as the rest of us!