After four months of preparation, refitting water tanks, fuel tanks, wiring in new instruments, adding new sails, replacing all the running rigging and all the other sundry things that took hundreds of hours of crew time, Mist headed south to San Francisco in June.
Four days later we were in beautiful Schoonmaker Point Marina in Sausalito and doing the final prep. The day before our start, all the food on board, gear on board, crew well rested and starting to stack the sails and stow the gear, I was on deck when I heard Scott Roberts say: “That doesn’t look right! After pulling some sails to brick out of the bow he had a good look at the hull. Scott is usually right about things: He was very right. The #3 ring frame in the bow was cracked in four places and delaminated. Which is when we all remembered the very, very loud bang in the middle of the night when we turned upwind to drop the main just off the infamous “Potato Patch” near Point Reyes.
A frantic scramble to see if emergency repairs were feasible and if any carbon fiber experts were available for overnight work led to three conclusions:
- We were not going anywhere
- There are a whole lot of very helpful and talented people in the sailing community here and we found many of them.
- It is ALWAYS something, and just when you think its just one thing, it’s something else
The repair went perfectly. Paul Bieker dove in and provided a repair plan, with drawings and laminate schedules; KKMI in the Bay Area found a meticulous laminate specialist with AC experience to do the work in the water; we found Marin Yacht Care to run errands and get the boat prepped for the delivery back to Seattle.
And then, we found the something else.
We had planned to calibrate the autopilot in Hawaii, as we hadn’t had time before hand and wanted to get the crew miles of experience ocean sailing on the way down to San Francisco, so it was still in its box.
Finding a calm morning in the Bay, we shoved off the dock at Schoonmaker’s and put the boat in gear. No forward. No reverse. No prop. It seems that at the last moment docking at night in Sausalito, the prop had spun off and it was resting on the bottom, too damaged to be reinstalled. Drifting in the narrow, busy Sausalito Channel, with no sails on deck and anchors deeply stowed, we were rescued by a very strong paddleboard instructor who towed us in and got our bowline to a cleat. She paddled off with her class of beginners before we could do more than shout thanks. The crew on a nearby catamaran launched their dinghy and towed us several hundred yards back up to our slip.
So…If we had, in fact, scrambled to repair the frame even temporarily, the morning of the race we would have shoved off to motor to the start with no prop.
And PYI out of Lynwood got to sell us a new Maxprop!
Commander’s Weather found a brilliant window for a 5 day delivery back home and 130 gallons of fuel later, Mist is now back in its slip in Shilshole.
See you out there!