It’s blowing outside – 25kts plus – and we’re heeling and bashing into the waves. Not a nice night, we’re below in the saloon, enjoying one of Laurie’s dinners. Life is good.
Bang! Something noisy happens right around the mast area. We look at each other and listen for more noises. All is quiet. Must have imagined it…
We bash on into the night.
Dawn breaks and the wind is still blowing. We’re still heeling and making good progress towards Ireland – it’s been a fantastic passage – fast, but very tiring since we’ve been on the same tack for a week and walking through and around the boat is challenging. Anything we can avoid doing we avoid – especially if it means going forward where the waves are highly likely to give you a salty dousing.
Holy crap! The port side mast winch is missing! Altogether! It’s gone!
I clip into the lifeline and start to move forward. Lying on the deck beside the cockpit I see a large black plastic washer – it’s part of the innards of the winch. As I move forward, I see that there are components of the winch lying variously around the deck. The main body lying on ropes that had been stored on the winch. The screw on cover that holds the thing together was within inches of going overboard. Bearings are lying on the deck. I pick up all the pieces and miraculously, the entire winch is still aboard.
I’d rather be lucky than smart – but perhaps we’ll modify some passage procedures accordingly!