Mark offered to help us do some mainsail adjustments and secure a batten that was inching out of its pocket. This required pulling the sail off the mandrel and with my wrist still not up to snuff we needed another pair of hands.
Off came the sail, the batten got secured, the end of the sail got retied and before long we were ready to wind the sail back on. Mark, always interested in how things work, was looking over our furling system and noticed a screw missing in the universal joint that connects the boom furler to the mast. Then he saw another missing screw, and another. By the time we had gathered around him he discovered the whole joint to be completely farkakte. The jaws are bent way out, screws are sheered off — holy cow! We’ve been sailing with it this way!
Nothing we’ve experienced could possibly have done this to the joint, so we can only assume it was well on its way when we bought the boat and given that the whole joint is covered in a thick piece of leather we never inspected it closely. Nor, apparently, did the pre-purchase rig inspector we used.
We are once again so lucky that we discovered an equipment failure before a disaster happened and we’re so happy for Mark’s keen curiosity and sharp eye. We’re going to have to convince Macushla to follow us around the world to protect us from ourselves.
We found a couple of the sheered off screws in the boom cradle and fished them out, took a load of photos to send to the company so we can order the right bits, covered up the mainsail to protect it from the sun and retired to the cockpit for a relief beer. Whew! Of course this means we won’t be sailing anywhere until we get a new universal joint installed.