Noon Position: 20 30.15S 127 12.03W
Course/Speed: S 7
Wind: E 15+ and steady
Sail: Heavily reefed, only because I’m working on a project with the tiller
Bar: 1022 (highest to date)
Sea: E 3 – 6
Cabin Temp: 85
Water Temp: 78 (going down slowly)
Miles last 24-hours: 159
Miles since departure: 4050
It also represents my first full month at sea.
So, what’s my take on the passage to date?
The sum up would be that it’s been a far more difficult month of sailing than I would have anticipated, and in retrospect, I’m pleased with that, as it’s served to slowly toughen me up for what’s to come.
Some detail for those interested…
-Progress. We got off to a slow start. Winds were generally light above the ITCZ and our daily average when we entered the SE Trades was a poor 120 miles per day. Though a beat, the trades have generally provided faster days and our average as of today for the entire passage just topped 136. We also topped (barely) 4,000 miles this month, which is solid progress and puts me “on schedule” if winds hold.
-Emotions stress. Leaving my wife and comforts of home on a venture with lots of question marks that will take months to resolve up or down…right before the holiday season…that was tough. Still is on difficult days, and I don’t think it will get much better before we are by Cape Horn and truly in the groove of the Southern Ocean. That said, at-sea habits have returned, and what a sailor loves more than all is routine. Coffee is at 6am after morning sail adjustments. Then some email. Then the ritual of sun sights begins. The afternoon is for projects, blogging. A beer at sundown. Then my scrumptious (to me) one pot meal dinners. Keeping busy is the thing, and at moment there is no shortage of things to do.
-Physical stress. The SE trades have been a physical work-out I didn’t anticipate, especially this last week of passing through the jungle of squalls. I’ve spent more time on the foredeck, much of it at night, since crossing the equator than all of last summer’s 7,000 miles getting Mo home from Alaska. All good practice! Can reef and un-reef blindfolded. Good; got it. Next? The foredeck work has also served to get me back up to passage-making strength; specifically it’s built callouses I desperately needed and fore-arm strength. And being upwind for so long, an uncomfortable ride at best, has served to build a kind of endurance I will be calling on frequently a couple weeks from now. I’ve read the Chilean weather reports. It’s going to be a ride!
-The boat. She’s just a champ. Taking quite a beating this last week but just keeps chugging along.
-The Monitor (aka Monte). Other than early issues with the latch spring, Monte has been a joy. Takes no power; steers true; knows how to tell a good story.
-The HOOD sails have already proved to be tough and well crafted, and the Cove Cradle on the main is an absolute winner. Haven’t touched a sail tie since departure.
-Electronics. I’ve a pretty complicated system from my perspective. To date, all has worked as advertised; so, thank you to Dustin Fox at Fox Electronics in Richmond for all the recommendations. -Provisioning. I’m enjoying the food (!)–look forward to the pancakes with PB&J, the pressure cooker dinners. More on that later…
-Gear. I’ve been surprised by some of the early gear issues–the Watt and Sea down haul tether parting after 24-hours of usage, the blown batten car pin on the new main, the Monitor water paddle latch opening (likely due to my failure to install the latch spring correctly), the leak in the anchor locker, the disintegration of the new plastic gasket separating the tiller from the rudder post (today’s project)–but pleased none has been critical and each has given me some bodgering experience early in the voyage and boosted my “I can fix it” confidence.
And the biggest success? We’re still going…