One of those things when being out alone on the ocean is that you can’t go to a shop or supplier when something is broken. So when the spanker or mizzen sail tore during the storm a couple of days ago, the unavoidable repairs had to be done on board. Our bosun Emma, who is responsible for all the ropes, blocks, rigging and sails, had to wait for a calm day for the repair project to start. Yesterday, ‘net mending day’ finally came. A “bad ass” sewing machine nicknamed Freja was carried out of the skipper’s cabin and the mending process was on its way.
Once the ladies had cleaned up the panel, the new piece of cloth was taped in with double side tape to make the sewing easier and then the real back breaking work began. The heavy sail had to be lifted to be fed into the sewing machine. One of the voyage crew appropriately shouted “Two, six, Heave!” while he watched the ladies struggling with the sail. Three people were needed to assist Emma feeding the sail through the machine and making sure the tape did not become undone. Quite a challenge on a rolling ship and definitely a great exercise in team work! Emma must have been a seamstress in a previous life as the panel fitted flawlessly and the stitching looked quite neat considering the labour conditions.
Project sail mending started at 14:30 in the afternoon and just before 21:00 we had fitted one panel. But there was still double stitching to do and also lots of smaller tears needed patching. As Emma’s watch was finished, we handed the patching work over to Laurits who turned out to be a real quilting talent. When I got up for the dog watch (00:00-04:00) he was still at it, sewing under a black sky wearing a headlamp. At 03:00 Merle took over from the Laurits. We were about to tape a new panel, when the sea became rougher and water came on deck. It’s no use mending wet sails so we had to abandon the project after about 12 hours of hard work. The spanker is now draped over a table in the library waiting for another calm day.