Capt Cranky Writes a Ditty

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August 4
Cape Flattery to Kauai
Day 13

Noon PST position: 26.42.79 by 151.58.53W
Miles since last noon: 139
Total miles of passage: 2054 / 491 to Kauai
Avg. Miles per Day: 139
Course: SW
Speed: 5 – 6
Wind: ENE 15 to 25, very light overnight
Sky: Tropical Cumulus, occasional squall with some higher stratus, but mostly sun
Waves: ENE 5-7
Bar: 1018
Air Temperature: 81 degrees
Sea Temperature: 77 degrees

My spirits are up and down based on how fast we go. The sea is its stunning self, electric sapphire blue, undulating infinitely, breaking with foam an indescribable white. But I see none of it if we aren’t hauling ass.

Yesterday afternoon I trimmed the twins, the big jenny on starboard about 1/2 to 2/3rds open and the the working jib to port about 1/3rd less. Both were set to take wind over the starboard quarter. I gave Otto a reprieve about 2pm, and Monte Cristo steered the afternoon and into the evening without complaint. Our speed was a steady 6.5 knots and I felt our progress good. I felt good.

I reduced sail slightly before starting my sleep cycle.

Over night winds went light again (thus the poor daily total). Heavy, low cloud moved in with a cloying mist. In the wee hours Monte lost his touch and we swung slowly west, just like the night before.

I rose early, uncomfortable and worried–first Howard and now Isabelle–but determined not to lose a mile more.

Two hours before light. Within the beam of a headlamp I pulled the poles and set the big jenny for a reach. Got four knots and a lousy shape. I moved the working jib over. Better. I made coffee … and by that time the day’s ENE trades set in. After coffee and a pastry, I re-swung the poles and let fly the sails and we went sailing SW like we’ve been doing for days now.

Gradually I suss that the trades’ diurnal rhythm.

Today, same pattern. Good time under the big genoa alone at first (experiment) and now the twins. Last two hours, 13 miles. I am happy. But what to do about tonight? May purposefully head off west and come back in tomorrow under main and working jib.

With wind velocities up and down and me often driving the boat pretty hard, I’ve been spending a lot of time on deck and at the winches taking in or letting out sail area. So much so that I’ve nom de plumed myself Capt. Cranky, who wrote a ditty.

*Capt. Cranky’s Winch Ditty*

If your soul is weary and your flesh is weak
Crank a winch
If the hour is nigh but before its peak
Crank a winch
If wind goes South then West then East
Crank a winch

If your coffee is hot
Crank a winch
If your bunk, is not
Crank a winch

If your arms are wobbly and your joints  do creak
Crank a winch
If the heart says “courage” but the mind says “freak”
Crank a winch
When in the midst of taking a leak
Crank a winch

If on deck
Crank a winch
When dinner’s ate
Crank a winch
If below
Crank a winch
When dreams let go

Morning, noon, and the dark of night
Crank a winch
Whether or not
Crank a winch
Winch winch winch winch, winch winch winch
Crank a winch

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5 Comments on “Capt Cranky Writes a Ditty

  1. and in the spirit of Tofu Roshi: ‘whilst cranking a winch, crank a winch!’

    • Ah yes. Good old Tof. Wasn’t it he who famously asked, “what is the sound of one winch grinding?” I’ve got the answer, by the way.

  2. Now we know what leads a prudent senior mariner to stop cranking a winch and bid farewell to his sailboat and say hello to a trawler… cranking that damn winch!

  3. And what a fine ditty it is, Cap’n!
    My crew and I gave up winch grinding three years ago, but I still miss that click-click-click on the backstroke.
    Keep on sailing. The trawler days will come soon enough.

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