I was catching up with sleep this morning when a shout had me stumble up on deck in record time: ‘The main boom’s broken!’ We quickly got the sail down and then Christian showed me a long vertical crack in the boom, just above the place where we had repaired it in Panama with an aluminium plate and rivets.
While I still desperately checked on the chart plotter which islands ahead were big enough to probably have a welder (a few small Cook Islands and the westernmost Australes), Christian already had the tools out for a repair. Handy smurf indeed!
Fortunately there wasn’t too much wind so Pitufa wasn’t heeling or bouncing too badly (15 knots) and handling the drill and rivet tool on deck worked out okay. We fixed three metal plates with 5 mm rivets and the boom looks like something from the Mad Max movies now, but stable enough to hold the mainsail again (a must on our course close to the wind). Keep your fingers crossed that it’ll hold out till Tahiti!
The promised wind shift to the NE still hasn’t happened and we’re blown way too far south, gaining only few miles toward Tahiti (550 nm to go as the frigate bird flies). The positive side effect of our detour is that we see islands we never expected to see, right now we’re sailing by Mangaia, one of the raised atolls of the Cook Islands chain.