Waves! Wind! rain!

Trip Start Jul 15, 2008
Trip End Aug 15, 2008

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Flag of Belgium  , West Flanders,
Tuesday, July 15, 2008

We leave in the morning, with good tidal currents pushing us. The wind is BAD, coming right towards us, so, again, like yesterday, we need to bear again and again. And since the wind is coming towards us, so are the waves! The boat is pitching, the nose (I mean the bow) going up... and down... and up... and down... In the beginning it seemed like fun, but after 5 hours the fun was quite over... Our speed was bad, and once the tidal current turned, we were even more slowed down! The hours passed, it started to rain.
Suddenly, while performing the bear manoeuver again, and bringing back the jib, suddenly the jib's rope gets stuck in the winch! (sorry, no idea what the correct sailing term for this rope is!) The wind is blowing, the rain is hitting my face, the jib sail is making a terrible noise, since it is still loose... Frank reacts quickly, takes the rope and turns it around a second winch, starts winching, aaarrrggghhh, it gets stuck too!! Third winch, both putting all our weight on the crank, the boat moves in all directions, the wind and rain are all ovet, the jib is flapping, we push, and yess, the rope gets free, ok, now the second winch is unjammed, we push the crank, and suddenly it moves... first winch is free again, we wind up the rope, the jib tightens and takes wind, the boat lists a little, and off we go!!! Frank and I are just sitting, exhausted, out of breath, sweating under our rain clothes... Well, to think that my colleages at home were jealous about my romantic cruise!!! If they knew!!

Frank compares the speed regarding to the ground (GPS) and to the water, and realizes that although we seem to go quite fast, because of the reverse current, we only do some 3 knots! "We'll never get before dark if we go on like that... we take the sails down, and go on engine: this will allow us to go straight to the destination instead of having to zigzag to it"

Ok, engine on...and we look both at each other...yess, we both hear a strange noise...seems to come from the propeller... Frank, who did dismantle the complete engine starts to imagine all kind of scenarios and looks quite worried...

At last, we go past Zeebrugge, see the Blankenberge lights, reach the breakwaters, and finally, are in calm water to do the few last meters towards our berth.

I feel exhausted. Tomorrow, no clock in the morning, we will rest and to Frank check will get into the water with his diving mask and fins  to check the propeller.
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