Most unfortunate news folks. On 24 Nov, at approximately 12:30 Zulu time, Big Blue, aka the “Whomper”, suffered a passage ending injury and has been placed on “inactive” status until further notice.
The Whomp, our second favorite crew member after Otto, was barely out of diapers, with only a few hundred hours of game time under his belt. A rising star in the WIDAGO sail plan, the management team had high hopes for the young downwind sail. He was expected to play a key role, not only in this leg towards St. Lucia, but next year’s World Circumnavigation, where those trade winds dominate.
The injury occurred while First Mate, Galley Wench, was hand steering at the helm. Skipper Ahab was providing very insightful feedback, at regular intervals, on her technique.
“A little port. No, now starboard. What are you doing? Never cross your hands! Bend your knees. Belly on the wheel. Just feel the waves.”
Obviously the Wench was thrilled to have such exacting ongoing analysis. A real confidence booster, and not at all distracting. The conditions were blowing 20-25kts dead downwind, with 2-3 meters of swell all morning. The occasional storm cell traversed our course, bringing increased winds and and wonky seas. The Whomp was doing a fantastic job, pulling WIDAGO through the squally seas at 9-11kts, SOG.
The final blow came with a set of sustained winds reading 27 kts. Just like an NBA player’s ACL, a loud pop was clearly heard, as the material just above Whomper’s port side clew blew out. The tear traversed across the foot of the sail, rendering the parasailor into to a listless luffing sail. Emergency technicians were immediately roused from their Mindcraft Marathon and deployed to the forward deck, to recover Big Blue, and assess the damage. Dousing the sail today would pose none of the previous day’s challenge. The Whomper was easily snuffed, sent to the locker (room).
Down, but not defeated, Ahab adjusted our sail plan several times over the past 36 hours to determine our best course of action. After trying all conceivable options for running down wind in gusty, squally conditions, Ahab settled on putting out just the Genoa with a preventer. Surprisingly, this option was first suggested by a certain guacamole producing novice crew member, shortly after Whomper’s injury. When this small detail was gently reminded to Ahab, his response was classic Moseley, as he calmly replied with a Cheshire Cat grin and twinkle in his eye, “Louder is smarter.”
As of press time, Ahab has already arranged for Whomper to see a surgeon specializing in these types of injuries. We expect Big Blue to make a full recovery in time for the World ARC departure in early January. In the meantime, WIDAGO is making its way slowly and safely towards St. Lucia, expecting to arrive sometime in the next 5-6 days.