Behind the Sewing Machine
With the clearance formalities and shopping out of the way, we turn to our next challenge: sewing. Just before arriving in Natal our mainsail tore. Unlike the gennaker, which tore to pieces soon after leaving Namibia, we really can’t do without the mainsail. It carried us tirelessly across the oceans. With more than 50,000 miles it long passed its guaranteed lifespan, so we are happy it lasted this long.
As there are no sailmakers here, we have to patch up the mainsail ourselves. But not alone. Via whatsapp, our friend Feitze gives us valuable advice. Before we left, he taught us how to sew and provided us with all kinds of spare materials, which comes in handy now. Feitze instructs us to build up layers from large and smaller strips of Dacron. His only worry is whether there is enough space under our small machine for the bulky sail? We roll up the bottom as tightly as possible and squeeze it under the machine’s arm. It just fits! “Fortunately, the tear is close to the bottom edge of the sail,” Floris says, relieved. We spend the rest of the day cutting and stitching before we declare it repaired and put it back on the boom. We hope it will last until we reach Europe but realize that the sail is reaching the end of its life.