Chores on a Sunny Day

Day 91

Noon Position: 48 11S  35 41E

Course/Speed: ENE7

Wind: SW20

Sail: Working jib out full

Bar: 1015

Sea: SW7


Cabin Temp: 47

Water Temp: 39

Miles last 24-hours: 171

Longitude Miles Made Good: 163 (We made 4 degrees of longitude–only the second time so far.)

Miles since departure: 12,266

Mo’s motion woke me at dawn. Winds had backed into the southwest, driving the boat north and Mo lurched and shoved her way into a sea leftover from yesterday’s blow. I gybed to the northeast and that eased things.

I had thought to return to my bunk but was awake though it was just 5am. The day came on clear and sunny. I had a coffee and then another and then began to lay out into the cockpit my ever increasing collection of wet things, gloves, socks, shoe insoles, hats, fleeces, galley towels, floor mats, even my sheepskin boots that “never go on deck” needed airing. The sun was strong and wind was strong, but the cold (the cabin never got above 48 today) meant things dried slowly. Then a sneaker wave slapped Mo’s flank, sending spray over the entire aft half of the boat. Everything was soaked. My second layout out of wet things was more strategic.

Winds had eased some by mid morning, so I went to full sail and we flew, dancing on the edge of control but never quite sliding out of it. Monte gave me a wink. We were all having fun.

All morning I worked on deck because I could; and I went without my foulie jacket because I could, but when I finally came below for a pot of oatmeal, I was on the verge of shivering. My hands tingled from the cold.

Yesterday was our 30th day at sea since departing Ushuaia on January 12th. I’d like to say that after 30 days sailing at 47 degrees south and below, I am finally comfortable and in the groove. But I am not. There is too much raw power down here for one to settle in. One is constantly anticipating future days and weathers or cruising the deck for gear that is on the verge of failure.

Today the lashings on Monte’s control lines let go without warning, this after 10,000 trouble-free miles. The cover on the main halyard has chafed where it rubbed against the running backstays during the last blow. The poles have begun to work back and forth in their mast socket, and thus far I’ve not been able to stop them. The use down here is hard use; the lows are one after the other.

At times one can resent the birds that are so perfectly adapted to this environment. Even the tiny storm petrel, hardly the size of a mouse, is running at wave-top during the heaviest of weathers, while I and my tank labor on.

But that resentment is balanced by the fact of seeing them at all, and with my own eyes, of watching Mo crest a wave beyond imagining, and another, of experiencing this inconceivable world.

6 Comments on “Chores on a Sunny Day

  1. Probably my favorite shot of the entire adventure…you sunbathing on deck! Cherish these moments of rest.

  2. Your videos are great, but the narratives paint an even more compelling story.

    Harry Martin, Washington, DC

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