The morning we arrived in Ahe at the beginning of this week we noticed the batten (flexible pipe to keep the mainsail rigid) just below the first reef line (1/3 of the way up) of our sail was missing. Kirsten said she heard a large thud a few hours earlier. I did see a loose string by the missing batten and decided we would likely have to reef all the way to Papeete where we hope to find a replacement batten.
Then today we departed from Ahe for Rangiroa. We decided to put a second reef (2/3 of the way up the mainsail) to slow us down in the 24 knot winds as we don’t want to travel too fast and arrive in the middle of the night. We only need to travel at 5 knots. As we went into irons (heading into the wind) to pull the sail down, the sail was flapping very wildly and I saw and heard a huge splash to our port side. Jaeden then noticed the batten below our second reef was missing.
I didn’t realize it but am beginning to suspect all of the battens are attached to the same clothesline size string running up the outside of the mainsail. It’s too dark and windy to do much right now but we’ll have to see things in the morning. It’s rather difficult if not impossible doing repairs to a sailboat in many of the islands we are visiting. Let’s hope we can figure this one out as Papeete is still 200 miles away!