Fast Day, Hard Won

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July 25
Cape Flattery to Kauai
Day 3

Noon position: 42.09.61N by 128.46.77W
Miles since last noon: 177
Total miles of passage: 451
Avg. Miles per Day: 150
Course: SSW
Speed: 7+ knots
Wind: NW 15 – 30
Bar: 1021
Sky: Low cloud and drizzle
Waves: NW 4-8; some to 10 feet
Air Temperature: 70 degrees
Sea Temperature: 59 degrees

We passed from the latitude of Oregon and into the latitude of California about mid morning. From so far offshore I couldn’t tell the difference, but it was a fitting end to our fastest day yet. 177 miles! Wow. An average of 7.3 knots an hour.

Hard won too, for the boat. Wind came up into the low 30s in the evening and I spent the better part of six hours on deck working sail. Just couldn’t seem to find the right amount or position. Started with full main and working jib and by 10pm was down to a double reef in both; main swung way out and held hard by the vang, and tiny jib snugged in.

By then it was full dark. I ate raviolis out of the can for dinner and started my sleep cycle pleased with our tearing speed but dissatisfied with my ability to balance the boat.

Part of my problem was an odd wind angle, yawing between beam on and quartering the wind. But too, it didn’t *feel* like that much wind from the cockpit (I could have lit a candle, I thought) so I was slow to take in sail. Too slow. That’s my biggest sin so far. One of several, but the biggest.

Even with what felt like massively reduced sail, the boat was not happy and she gyrated something awful in the new and building swell. I slept poorly as each hard roll shifted every can and jar and plate aboard. It was as if a gaggle of 10-year-olds had been let loose in the Boston Pops percussion section and been advised to “have at!”

One of the items on the Port Townsend TO DO list–“Silence the Cupboards Already!”–that I didn’t get to and I’m paying for it. Every towel aboard is jammed between this and that loud thing, and still the loud things are winning.

At 3am I woke to find that Hemingway’s FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS had flung itself across the cabin during the previous hour (get it? For whom the bell TOLLS). I put it back on the shelf next to THE RIGHT STUFF, which had stayed right where it belonged.

Along those lines, I switched to the forward water tank yesterday, this to lower it a bit and keep it from banging its own lids like a base drum (a recommendation of previous owner, Tony Gooch), only to find the water is rank. Not quite clear, a smell I don’t care to describe, and with what looks to be well-used green tea leaves swirling about. I filled the tank in Homer but hadn’t touched it since. Appears that was an error.

Sun in the afternoon. Again the water turned a deep blue and sparkly. Ah yes, that’s why I’m here! Wind eased a bit. For lunch I had canned salmon on toast with mustard. Also ate handfuls of fresh tomatoes and two avocados. Hard as rocks they were when I bought a dozen in Port Townsend; now they’re all ripe at once.

GRIBS still show the High going egg like, so I’m keeping the west in my course, but I sure wouldn’t mind if the wind went more North; I’d like to fly both genoas and get the boat off this funky angle.


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In Port Townsend I made an iPad typing desk from two pieces of pine shelving bought at the hardware store. Works well.

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4 Comments on “Fast Day, Hard Won

  1. Are you running with the wind? That seems counter intuitive considering what I imagined as prevailing winds??

    • My goodness, mama. Let’s have you consult a pilot chart. Yes, am more or less with the wind. Am sailing down the Pacific High.

  2. Hi Randall. Suggestion: For better balance with winds that are shifty and trending abaft the beam, increase jib size relative to main – any way that works with your rig. Another reef in main and/shake out a jib reef?
    Howard, Holy Grail

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