How’d that hap­pen?

Yachting Monthly - - THE END - Graham Hughes

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!

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