Boom and Crash

April 4, 2019

Day 182

Noon Position: 36 08S  31 59W

Course(t)/Speed(kts): NExE 5.5

Wind(t/tws): NNW 12

Sea(t/ft): N4-6

Sky: Clear

10ths Cloud Cover: 0

Bar(mb): 1013, rising

Cabin Temp(f): 73

Water Temp(f): 67

Relative Humidity(%): 86

Sail: Working sail, close reaching on port

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good (nm): 126

Miles since departure: 24,873

Avg. Miles/Day: 137

Leg North Days: 15

Leg North Miles: 1,925

Avg. Miles/Day: 128

Close hauled. Boom boom. Like thunder. Mo drops cantwise off a sea into the next or an approaching sea catches her smack in the bilge, and one imagines the gates of hell have opened.

From inside, it is as if you are living within a bass drum being played to some alien rhythm or inside a vault as the massive metal door slams shut. Then there’s the vibration, the rending of the hull, at least. You check the bilges for water. You cross yourself and pray that the welds are as good as their reputation.

When the northerly wind hit a steady 25 true, I put in third reefs and went to bed.

All night crash and bang. And at a crawling pace we made mostly easting. Not much real sleep.

By 2am the wind began to ease. By 4am, I started letting reefs out. By daylight, the sky was a chaos of gray and rain. And by noon it was all over. Skies were clear, and our winds returned to the gentle northwesterly we’ve carried since the Falklands.

Not for long though. The calms of the Horse Latitudes are dead ahead.

Since the Falklands, I have dived headlong back into astronavigation. I took but a handful of sights in the south. There was enough to do without layering on extra. But now that skies are mostly clear (rather than the reverse), I’ve unleashed the sextant once more.

Most gratifyingly, I’ve started dabbling in The Sailings, navigational formulas that are aids to Dead Reckoning. With The Sailings, one can mathematically project his current position from a known position and the intervening course and distance sailed. Alternatively, one can calculate his course and distance from one known position to another.

Sure, either can be done on a chart, but when one’s chart covers an entire ocean, the width of a pencil mark is several miles, so one has a better chance of accuracy with math. Not to mention that the chart got wet and no longer enjoys the touch of a pencil. Ehem.

For someone with a Trigonometry background, the various formulas are child’s play. For this English Major, they require hours with Bowditch open to pages 351 – 361, and lots of scratch paper, all of which has yielded the following triangle and useful formulas, from which all blessings flow.

One Comment on “Boom and Crash

  1. Geez! Never heard of The Sailings nor these calculations. I’ve no doubt I could never do them anyway!

    Please, dear sir, this I really want to know: If Moli was so well traveled before you bought her, how could there be any doubts as to the durability of her welds? Is it possible that they can actually wear out or weaken with time? Or were you just musing with “what if”?

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