Once safely moored in the Yealm, all three trainees were determined to climb the mast - no fear shown at all:
And training sessions in the dinghy moved on to circuits around Maunie, with the skipper watching carefully.
All that mast-climbing practice could have come in useful on the return sail back to Dartmouth. We had a perfect 18 - 20 knot wind behind us so the Irish Flag spinnaker was flown and we fairly charged along. We'd just treated Maunie to new spinnaker sheets and halyard and the latter delivered something of a challenge when we came to drop the sail. It somehow jammed in the block at the top of the mast so we couldn't lower the sail at all and the 'snuffer' sock broke free of its bottom fitting so zipped upwards to leave the full sail flapping noisily in the wind. With a bit of quick thinking and conference between skipper and first mate, we decided the best course of action was to drop the mainsail and then send someone up the mast with a spare halyard. The new crew looked nervous but Graham volunteered himself to do the climb, with Dianne on the winch to give him a tight safety line.
The wild flapping of the sail made shouted conversation between deck and mast-head something of a challenge, but the new halyard was clipped on to the head of the sail, the jammed one unclipped and then Dianne carefully lowered spinnaker to the deck, to be gathered and stuffed into its bag by Graham and Martha. A bit of a drama but full marks to all the crew for their safety-first planning and actions. Martha even managed to get a bit of video, in between the sail-taming - we'll try and post it to the blog when we get back to broadband as this attempt may not work
After that little kerfuffle, we came safely into Dartmouth, moored up on the pontoon and celebrated the end of a great few days with a monster chicken curry. Good timing - there's a southerly gale forecast for the next couple of days.