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Critical Incident (1)

After my morning shower I put some more tension on the genoa halyard, the luff was too loose. 1. I could not believe what I saw next. The genoa (54 sqm) was sliding down the track and was soon in the very clear and blue water. I disengaged the windvane and retrieved the tow propeller of the hydrogenerator. 2. The large genoa acted like a drogue anchor, several attempts to pull the sail on the foredeck failed. I then started the engine and tried to back up against the wind, no chance, the waves were too high, the sail was now under the port side of the bow, reaching to the front of the keel. 3. I tried to pull the sail out off the water with the second, spare genoa halyard: Yes, it came out off the water a bit, but no chance to pull the rest on deck. 4. Engine in reverse and when the sail was in front of the bow, then backing up further, this time with the bow to the wind. 5. Engine in neutral and rush back to the bow (tethered in all the time) pulling the sail head like crazy. Then, pulling little portions (10 cm) of the sail over the railing, sitting on the sail and holdin it firmly to the railing wires to stop it from sliding back in the sea. This took me like one hour, I was totally exhausted but managed to get the genoa on deck. Freed a part of the genoa from the anchor. 6. Engaged the engine to go downwind to have less apparent wind. 7. Hoisted the genoa with the help of my remote controlled deckhouse winch while feeding the flapping sail into the groove of the genoa track. It was an absolute nightmare, I was totally exhausted afterwards. Still, I was very lucky that the wind (14 kn) and the waves (2,5 m) were low. Else I would not have been able to save the genoa.

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