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Repair on the Way to Southampton from Florida 14-Year-Old Sailor Tells His Side of the Story By Robbie Moore

Robbie Moore at the helm of Hope and Glory.


November 2008


This is my story about an incident on my sailing trip across the Atlantic with Uncle Joe on his Island Packet 420, Hope and Glory, and the crew; Scotty, Bill, and Rocky. We left Sarasota, FL, on May 17, and arrived in Southampton, England, June 30. We sailed through the good and the bad, and these are just a few of the great times we had. I loved every minute of it. It was on our fifth or sixth day out from Sarasota— while I was sitting in the cockpit with the rest of the crew— when Uncle Joe—while checking that everything on board looks good—found a problem that needed fixing. “There’s an overturn on the reefing screw,” he says. Hope and Glory has in-mast mainsail furling, and the reefing screw is the screw in the mast that a line winds around when you’re pulling the sail out, and it needs to be right so you can reel it back in, but at the very beginning when you’re pulling the sail out, the line going into it is at a very steep angle, so if there is a lot of pressure, an overturn results. Well, I can’t just do the repair, so Rocky gets up and we start taking instruction from the Cap. “Pull that in. Let that out.You know.” Uncle Joe says. We start pulling it out. Bad move. We’re putting a lot of pressure on the sail—because it will not pull out because of the overturn. Whatever. So all of a sudden, POP!—and the sails fly everywhere. We ripped it. Great. So now, everyone on deck must put on their harnesses. Cap’s at the helm, and me and Rocky are taking the sail down. Scotty’s on the halyard and me on the port side. Rocky’s on starboard pulling the sail down. Thank God, we got the sail out before it broke, because one of the drawbacks of in-mast furling (I particularly like boom furling and this is why) is that if the sail’s not all the way out, you can’t drop it if there’s a problem. And this is a problem. A big one. So we’re hand over hand yanking the sail down. Fun. Ugh. But it’s excitement. So when the whole thing’s down—STAY ON THE WINDWARD SIDE, because if you don’t and the sail catches the wind, you’re gone with it over the side. Not fun. No getting back on the boat. Probably not ever see land or anything again. So when we get to the problem, it’s the clew, the thing on the end of the sail that the line attaches to that you pull the sail out with. A very necessary part. No clew. No sail. Ugh, great. No sail. We can’t go all the way across the Atlantic with no mainsail. So we must secure the sail and regroup. But we can’t: The sail must