An Extended Complaint

April 7, 2019

Day 184

Noon Position: 32 25S  25 46W

Course(t)/Speed(kts): NExE 6

Wind(t/tws): NWxN 16 – 18

Sea(t/ft): NW 4

Sky: Solid altcum layer with cum and strat beneath

10ths Cloud Cover: 10

Bar(mb): 1017+ steady

Cabin Temp(f): 75

Water Temp(f): 73

Relative Humidity(%): 90

Sail: Working jib, one reef; main two reefs, close hauled.

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good (nm): 130

Miles since departure: 25,255

Avg. Miles/Day: 137

Leg North Days: 18

Leg North Miles: 2,305

Avg. Miles/Day: 128

A godforsaken bit of water, this.

Same ritual overnight; wind accelerates; I kit up and reef. By the time I’m back in the cockpit, another reef is needed. That’s at 11PM. At 3AM I wake to find we’re doing 4 knots and headed east. Wind has dropped way off. Let out reefs. Rain. Let out more reefs at dawn. All reefs back in by noon.

A thick, light-blocking sky today such that I made the first two log entries by headlamp. The upper deck is horizon-to-horizon, without definition and relentlessly, unforgivingly, utterly gray; the lower deck is a mix of billowing gray squall cloud and gray stratus. Rain off and on.

Wind cycles between 10 and 20 knots. I’m constantly adjusting Monte and the main in a vain attempt at balance and a straight course. NxE we can do and E, all other points of sail are fleetingly attained.

Between the rain and the humidity (80 – 90 percent for a week now) everything below is sopping. It’s pointless to attempt to wipe up the floors because none of the tea towels are dry enough to do anything but move the water around. I don foulies before going on deck in order to keep from getting more wet rather than to stay dry.

Below is stuffy and sticky and cloying. The breeze through the dorades is so saturated it drips from the vent cowlings. But go on deck for a bit of fresh air and you’ll catch a face full of spray in no time. The only safe place is huddled under the pup tent.

Not a bird. Not one. Nor any other sign of life save now and then a piece of plastic trash or a passing ship, of which there is at least one on the scope every few hours. If outbound, they all seem to be headed for Singapore. All bulkies so far.

The anemometer quit today; its twirly bit at the head of the mast has inexplicably stopped spinning. It has been iffy for some time now, and I suspect has been underreporting blows in the south for a while. I am now reporting wind via a handheld. It’s a only a convenience, the masthead anemometer, but sorely missed, especially true wind direction.

Wind we have, and that is good. That is very good. But it is unremittingly ahead. We have been close hauled or close reaching on port for two weeks and are barley making a degree of northing a day. At this rate it will be nearly a month to the equator, and we have yet to reach the Horse Latitude calms.

And how we pound! I mean really, how much more of this can she take?

6 Comments on “An Extended Complaint

  1. Brave on Randall and MO!! For sure the wind will always change! The question arises constantly, when and where!!!

  2. I feel your pain. We, the many, are with you fully in spirit

  3. Randall, you are doing great. Why are you complaining? Suck it up. Just state the facts and keep the complaint-linked sentences and adjectives to yourself . No sympathy from these quarters. Wide-eyed and prepared, you walked into one of the greatest sailing trips ever to be made and you are surviving. Of course it’s tough. But it’s your job.

  4. Looks like you’ll have some beam-ish winds for a while once you get through this. Hold fast and carry on!

  5. I have an entirely different reaction than Lars. I think this is a satisfyingly articulate complaint, and I can think of few people I know, who have better cause to complain, than Cap’n Reeves. Daily, I hear piffling complaints, about nothing, from people who have objectively wonderful lives. It’s refreshing to hear a valid and legitimate complaint, particularly from someone as longsuffering as this particular seafarer. The complaint has cause and gravitas. Furthermore, most of the world’s great literature is simply extended, eloquent complaining. Let us reflect on this immortal line from _Saving Private Ryan_: “Reiben, pay attention. Now, this is the way to gripe. Continue, Jackson.” Likewise, says I: “Continue, Reeves.”

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