Easing it Out of the Trades

Day 32

Noon Position: 22 47S 126 38W
Course/Speed: SE 6+
Wind: ENE 10 – 15
Sail: Full
Bar: 1024 (wow)
Sea: SE 6; E 4
Sky: Clear
Cabin Temp: 83
Water Temp: 77 (finally trending down consistently)

Miles last 24-hours: 146
Miles since departure: 4196

Gray cloud filled in last evening and went horizon to horizon by dark. I prepared for a busy night of on-again-off-again squalls, but the deck was thin enough to allow a filtered three-quarter moon and winds stayed in the teens all night. I reefed down hard anyway so that if Mo did catch a blaster, she could work through it without my help.

I was reminded today of the quote Colin Putt used to describe Bill Tillman’s expedition strategy. “He knows that the best way of roughing it is easing it.”* The context is my sail strategy, which has done an about face in the last few weeks. Now the focus is on Mo and Randall comfort first and good, not necessarily great, miles second. Sure, we could go faster, but not that much faster; we could point higher, but not that much higher, and Mo would pound like a drunken piano player for the trouble. She pounds enough as is and many thanks.

Today cleared by noon and we’re back to powdery blue skies and a cobalt sea with less and less swell in it. We’re coming to the end of the trades and seem to be getting less of everything. Flying fish, birds, swell, wind…all dropping way off.

Which leaves me fretting over how we’ll make the transition to the westerlies. I don’t currently see any way “around” being becalmed for an unknown period about three days from now, becalmed right in the track of a repeating, tight low that develops every few days at about 30N/140W. In any case, the transition at moment looks neither smooth nor rapid.

Given light winds, I opened up the pilot house ports for some fresh air and just in time to take a five-gallon gusher through the portlight right above the nav station. I think I lost headphones and a portable speaker (not used since departure), may have lost the volt meter (not good). The laptop was in its case–toss a coin to good fortune. Flooded the cabin sole and the tiny rug down there with salt water. Rug is drying in the cockpit, but will feel damp now until can rinse in the rain.

Leftover polenta, black beans, and canned salmon for dinner last night; into which was added some leftover tuna and pizza sauce. Tasty meal, as it turned out, but the presentation had the vague look of pre-digested food; a charitable reviewer might call it “glop” before asking the waiter to return it from whence it came.

*Not always evident from Tillman’s own descriptions.

3 Comments on “Easing it Out of the Trades

  1. Tracking the Volvo Ocean Race along side your journey. The Volvo boats just completed the 7,000 mile Lisbon to Cape Town leg in 19 days. Crazy boat speed but none of the pleasures you are enjoying by taking the slow and steady path. Thank you for sharing these pleasures with us via your daily updates.

  2. Randall,
    Following you on a daily basis is a real treat, always looking forward to your posts each night. I do plan to follow part of your adventure as well as Tony’s in a couple of years so am watching, learning and taking notes. What I sense so far is just the first chapter through the trades with several more to be experienced and written about.
    Coincidentally, I’m weaving two books together at this time, Homer’s Odyssey and James Joyce’s Ulysses. In that, an old saying that might apply to your variable winds might come from the Greek God of Wind, Aeolus. Then there is Poseidon. If the asking of a dream of ‘getting more than you ask for’, they’re working on that for you.
    Surely, you’ll get the winds and much more and yet when rounding up for a return, the trades will be, no doubt, a welcome relief.
    Thanks for the armchair ongoing story

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