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the truth hurts

on board

the truth hurts

The latest from the Open 50 Truth skipper Alex Mehran on the the Singlehanded Transpac.

Sometimes the Truth hurts!! It had happened four times before yesterday. First Jesse mangled his hand on a furler during the 2010 Double Handed Farallones. Then there was the time my Dad got a concussion on the Potato Patch Shoal (which was my fault..). Our epic wipeout passing the channel islands over canvassed in 30 knots with the A6 and finally shrimping the same sail a week before the start of this race. Last night was numero cinco and an unpleasant interruption to my lifestyle here on board.

After a nice day of A4 running on port the wind backed to 35 degrees and it was time to gybe back for the night. I thought I would drop the A4, gybe and hoist the fractional A6 for the night on starboard. I needed to slow the boat down out of the high teens for the night. With the A4 on deck in what I thought was a safe spot, the bow dipped through a wave and caught the spinnaker tack dragging it into the sea. Having experienced this just prior to the race with the A6 on a hoist, I pulled out the Leatherman and cut the tack off the sail before the rest could be pulled in. I am sure the loft guys will be happy with this nice new project! Admittedly, cutting it free was a bit of a preemptive strike, but once any of the sail gets in the water it pulls like mad and I feel pretty confident that it was the right move as any more would have resulted in wrapping on the keel, etc.. and a multi hour cleanup effort probably with more damage. I had to climb out on the 10 foot bowsprit to recover the tack and tackline, which was really not so nice but got done.

With that episode over, I went to gybe the boat and when loading the new runner I noticed the winch was backspinning, which was also great. Zan taught me to overhand knot the runners and other lines in case this happens and now I know why. In this case I loaded it on the primary that was working, gybed and took the thing apart. I think the 4 days on starboard with no movement and lots of water just washed most of the oil out and hopefully the issue is isolated to that winch. There were two sets of four pawls that needed cleaning and lubricant.

With that buttoned up I set the A6 with some serious butterflies, but it went off fine. Only issue was the waves were big and as I tried to get some rest after dark the boat kept hitting 22 knots. Got back up and put in a double reef which I thought would be a 1-2 punch, but she kept hitting high teens and twenties and I was gassed so I went into sleep mode checking on things every 30 minutes or so.

Everything held up fine for the night and now I am on port heading 215 and going about 12-14 knots. I should have masthead gear up, but I really think that at this point the frac may be my 24/7 kite to the finish. I am counting my blessings having had five trouble free days before yesterday.

607 miles to Hanalei – not even a whole Bermuda Race!! Looking forward to seeing my wife and son hopefully on Sunday