Nandor on losing the kite
Nándor Fa - Spirit of Hungary 8th Jan.“Yesterday the whole day we were running under the A2, with a few almost perfectly carried out gybes. Good wind angle - 155 -, good speed - 13-15 kts in 17-20 kts of wind -, a nice sunny watch. Until the night.
In the evening the wind started to increase, 19-23 kts Northerly — North-Easterly. It was my watch in the dark, we had previously decided with Conrad that we will steer the boat ourselves when needed, at most we will do shorter changes, but we keep the boat going
The moon wasn’t up yet but the Orion constellation - my favourite - was encouragingly squinting at me, it felt good I was not alone after all.It was already dark when we ran past an every-inch-floodlit dream-boat. As fast as it came, disappeared into the night behind us.I was just going to wake Conrad up when the gennaker broke at the top of the mast. I was frozen as I watched the 350 sqm white sail billow down gently in front of me. The whole main sail was of course up, making the boat go on. I reflexly steered away, dragging the whole gennaker in the water. Conrad already jumped for the first spat, now he was quickly throwing on clothes and coming to help. As much as it was possible I luffed up to lower the main sail. Needless to say, everything was everywhere in the waves, nothing could calm it.I had no doubt the sail would be ripped apart, but I was afraid we would go over it and the sail material and the ropes would wind around the keel and the rudders. Within a second I put on the drysuit and we started the rescue process. I shouted to Conrad to ease on the halyard so that I could bring it on board from the bowsprit. We tried pulling it from there, from wave to wave, while it sometimes loosened a little, the other second almost pulling us into the water …but we just kept on pulling it as hard as we could. Of course the part of the sail we managed to pull on board wanted to go back into the water, Conrad runs for a few sail ties and we tie it on board. — Let’s open the sail locker and pull it inside directly — I shout to Conrad in the heat of the battle. It comes more and more easily as there is less in the water. We were directly taking it over the bow. The sail is mainly in one piece but the halyard connector broke completely, tearing the whole leech with it too.Conrad ran to the back, started untying all sheets as I was taking everything over the bow hand over hand. The connection between the sail and the halyard just simply broke. We fumingly discover that the strop was made of plain polyester, which of course means it was only a matter of time before it broke. Since we knew that we were heading towards building wind, we used the Code 0’s lock and not its own one, because that is a safer connection to the mast.We both were incredibly happy we managed to do it without bigger problems like getting wrapped. If it had wrapped around the keel and rudders, we would still be out here cutting it from the boat. Conrad apologizes for the fourth time, he feels it his fault. First, because he left me alone in the night, secondly I had suggested to change the A2 for the A3 when it was getting darker. I had a sense, nothing more. I’ve already lost sails when sailing into the night. We don’t blame anyone but the strop. You truly get to know people in trouble! The way they react, what they take on and how they do it. This was the first time for both of us to see what we can expect from each-other in a real tough situation.After we had finished our rescue action, we pulled the main sail back up, reacher up, and after two hours we were running again with 12 knots in the moonlight. We instinctively hugged each other. We mutually acknowledged each-others capabilities, attitude, we’ve had our first test. We passed. At dawn we had to reef the main sail and gybe at the same time. Now we are sailing outwards to West, getting heightfor the next gybe to target the passage between the islands. The A2 we lost now was a new sail, I had it made for a spare and we were testing it right at the beginning. It lasted until now. I have another one, but no more spare of this sensitive, light sail inevitable for reaching. We will have to take care of the other one more, we are not going to let it spend the night when the conditions are uncertain.Other than that it is sunny, the sky is patchy of clouds and we progress fantastically.”