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09 January 2010

Did I do that? Primal scream; fish fish...

We are sailing in 20-25 knots of wind directly to the waypoint off Columbia's Northern river Delta averaging 9 knots. Thirty miles south of us is where there is a convergence zone of the mighty tradewinds and the Columbia river delta, short tall choppy seas in shallow water make for an area to stay away from. The jib is rolled in sixteen or seventeen times, no main and full mitzen. Generator has been on to reduce the heat down below, make water and keep the batteries topped off. Just wonderful sailing, catching up on some reading, watching some beautiful waves power past the boat while eating some of Sofia's oatmeal cookies just out of the oven.

Did I do that? We were at Lat 14.11.375N Long 67.59.35W wondering if that is near the famous sinking in the 70's. We are in the middle of a gibe when I am on the mainsail sheet, Sean makes some awful sound I look up as I am letting out the main sheet to see the main boom folding in half. My only comment is "Did I do that?" No one is near the folded boom, we lower the main halyard and tie down the end of the folded boom directly to the deck, tywrap the sail to the folded boom and finish the gibe. No one is hurt other than our pride. We pole out the jib and hoist up the mizzen. Morgan mentioned this is close to where Firebird made its final moments. On closer look the boom folded at the end of the re-enforcement for the boomvang, some evidence of salt between the re-enforcement and the boom itself. The fold follows where some screws were installed to bring the re-enforcement to the boom. We will be in contact with some metal workers in Panama to do a repair job once we enter the canal zone. No it wasn't me. At 3am as the watches are changing Sean is coming up the companion way, Morgan and I are on deck. Just as Sean is coming up the campanion way there is this primal scream, HELP. We just look at each other in horor looking around to see who, what, where the sound came from. Sean goes forward, I go aft and we see or hear nothing. Once back on deck Morgan says he thinks it was a bird flying over head. We just look at each other and continue with the jobs at hand. In the morning I mention the primal scream to Bill who looks at me and says that is how he finishes a good nightmare, he screams HELP and falls back to sleep. We all get a good laugh and tuck it into our memories for the next strange HELP we hear.

Fish, fish, we have another f______, fish on the line. Heidi jumps to the reel, Bill starts looking for the gaff, I try to wake up the crew, "fish, fish, another f______ fish on the line". Heidi reels up a Mahi Mahi about 40" long and Bill lifts it on to the deck almost brushing Heidi with the tail. Sofia comes with the customary knife, cutting board, pan and a big smile. Bill, Dave and Sofia quickly cut off our lunch's head and Morgan fillets it to perfection. Fifteen minutes later and the lunch menu has been changed for the better.

Sailing with the jib and mizzen dead downwind is a perfect combination. The jib is not being shadowed by the main so it is not being blanketed and making that awful noise of refilling. The mizzen is far enough away from the jib so its not having trouble being continuously filled. We are able to adjust the Raymarine hydraulic auto pilot to steer dead down wind so the waves are almost exactly behind us so the rolling is reduced.

Jan 9, 2010 12:00 UTC

13 37.431 N

70 49.169 W