Adding Injury to Insult


Sept 29
Hanalei Bay to San Francisco
Day 19

Noon HST position: 38.58.32N by 125.15.31W
Miles since last noon: 173
Total miles of passage: 2751
Avg. Miles per Day: 145
Miles to San Francisco: 160
Course: SE
Sail: All plain sail, wind angle 120 degrees to port
Speed: 5 and 6
Wind: N15 – 20
Sky: Clear, some scattered high cumulus
Bar: 1017
Air Temperature: 68 degrees
Sea Temperature: 55 degrees

8pm. The dark of night. Sitting and reading by headlamp from my usual spot near the companionway. Hatch closed, except for a small gap for fresh air. Closed because now that we are before the wind, little bits of sea spray are swept onto my glasses when a wave taps MOLI on the quarter, which is a bother when one is with a book.

But the sea is subsiding, I think. At least it is quieter than earlier in the day.

Then that now familiar whooshing sound followed by a metallic THWAP as the wave makes Mo’s port flank and climbs aboard. Rushing white water covers the pilot house windows and flies over the cabin top. Suddenly I have a lap and face full of ocean as I also have the sense of going weightless.

Mo rolls over and down. Now a rushing sound to starboard as the decks and windows go under at the bottom of the wave. Crashing sounds from the main cabin. Water flying around in the pilot house.

Then Mo is up, shaking it off. Again, I dash to the companionway hatch to check on Monte. He’s smoking a cigarette and reading Playboy. Unperturbable, that dude. “Drew you a bath,” he says, pointing. “You were complaining of being smelly.” I look down and see the cockpit is half full again and with various bits of line and a winch handle subbing for a rubber ducky.

Below looks like a mobile home after a tornado. Water all over the sole of the pilot house. Also there, a soaked first edition of Ranulph Fiennes MIND OVER MATTER, the clipboards holding my food inventory lists, my foulies fallen from their hook, and a towel, which I retrieve and begin drying off.

Everything that has been on the counter in the galley is on the floor or in the head. No shock there. More impressive is that a can of NIDO dried milk has made the journey from the counter all the way into the head sink, about six horizontal feet (when Mo is upright). I can hear the EU Football announcer shouting, “Scooooooore.” Nothing came off the gimbaled stove.

In the salon, all the books that were on the lower shelf (which has a four-inch high fiddle rail) have been cleaned out, and half are now on the bunk on the opposite side of the boat.

It takes an hour to mop-up and restow the boat, during which time the companionway hatch stays shut all the way.

These two “knockdowns” (quotations because I’m not sure the mast and sails were ever in the water, though the boom has, by now, had several deep handshakes with Neptune) are odd. The wind has not been that strong and the wave action, though steep, has had no curl.

Two clues: wave action yesterday was often chaotic and today the sea temperature reading was 55 degrees, a seven degree drop from the day before where a one degree drop is more usual. Both of these suggest that we sailed through a collision of currents, which could well have perturbed the sea-state.

I dislike yachtie galley gear. Plastic/non breakable dishes. Stainless steel, spill proof cups. No idea why, just do. When I look forward to the morning brew, the image is of a very normal, ceramic mug filled with coffee from boiling water poured through fresh grounds.

Admittedly, balancing the filter atop the cup can be a tricky business. Thus the gimbaled stove. In 20,000 miles of solo cruising, this has always worked.

Until this trip. Until again this morning.

We still had our difficult waves. One lurch. The coffee cone full of hot water and hot coffee grounds allowed itself (yes, it wasn’t paying close enough attention) to be thrown at me, all down my front and scalding my left wrist before proceeding to plaster the far wall and crash into the head.

After a profoundly sincere screaming fit and an extended clean-up operation. After another go and success, a lovely mug of Joe, which I absent-mindedly set down while reaching for my book, upon which it promptly flipped over.

Out has come the non-flip cup and the instant coffee canister. I can take a hint, after a time.


Hot coffee grounds threw themselves at me and onto the floor.


4 Comments on “Adding Injury to Insult

  1. Your writing is so vivid, and funny in a quirky way! I have read both f8 and Murre’s adventures – but now that I reached this latest post, what to do? What to read?! I feel empty…

    Other cruising blogs really cannot compare.

    I hope all the best for your adventures.

    • Greetings Voja Mo, many thanks for the compliment. I’m glad you find the reading satisfying because I sure enjoy the writing. As I said to Joanna recently, I think one reason I like going to sea is that it gives me something to write about. Pretty expensive and involved way to generate subject matter, but hey.

      Thanks again. MOLI now goes into refit mode, so there will be plenty to write about between now and the beginning of the Figure 8 proper this time next year.



  2. Randall, we really MUST introduce you to the litre stainless thermos french press coffee maker… Mess on the cabin sole no more. Happy landfall. Howard & Steph

    • Please do! I thought I’d never give up the Melita cone, but the North Pacific in September has convinced me otherwise.

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