July 1, 2018
Noon Position: 44 54N 141 43W
Sky: FOG, heavy
Cabin Temperature: 74
Water Temperature: 55
Sail: Spinnaker, poled to port. No main. Not enough air.
Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good: 117
Miles this leg: 1805
Avg. Miles this leg: 139
We motored all night, a good choice as the foretold wind never rose above 5 knots dead aft. I’ve edged up to 45N to get a leg over the fence that is this high pressure system, and each mile we travel north, the high happily obliges by rising to meet us. Last hour the barometer had risen to 1035. 1035!
This is my fourth leap home across the Pacific and is, without rival, the winner for unsettled, fluky weather. Mo has 50 hours on the engine in the last 12 days. Compare that to something on the order of none on the last three trips. And in two days, we’ll be overtaken by a near gale from the north. And then flat calm again.
At dawn, finally wind enough to fly the spinnaker and shut down the Bukh, and that’s how we sail even as I type, ghosting along…
Ghosting. The idea has haunted my day. Mo glides silently through the water with no apparent effort and from no apparent aid, for the spinnaker is engorged and immobile, but on what wind? I climb into the cockpit, and I can feel none on my face. The meter says true wind is 8 knots. Another meter says we are traveling with it at 4 knots. I should feel 4 knots on my face but do not. Possibly the meters conspire, even with the meter that shows our course. They have their own destination in mind.
Then, in the afternoon of the sixth day of this low and creeping fog, fog thickens. Visibility, five boat lengths. We are sailing under a dome of cloud whose speed and direction match our own. We turn; it turns with us. Because, you see, it appears there is some agency to the fog; some malicious intent. As if, at the direction of Aeolus, we are being led blindly away from our goal. The fog will lift on some future day and find us passing too close to Scylla or Charybdis or on the hard in a Walmart parking lot in suburban Minnesota. Then all the gods will have a good laugh. Oh, ha ha ha.
The wind is dying. The spinnaker goes limp. Visibility two boat lengths. Still, we are ghosting.