Hard Driving

October 25, 2018

Day 21

Noon Position: 01 53N  133 40W

Course(t)/Speed(kts): S 6+

Wind(t/tws): ExS 15 – 18

Sea(t/ft): SE 5

Sky: Clear

10ths Cloud Cover: 0

Bar(mb): 1014, rising

Cabin Temp(f): 84

Water Temp(f): 79

Relative Humidity (%): 82

Sail: #2 genoa, one reef; main, one reef; close reach

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good: 136

Miles since departure: 2694

Avg. Miles/Day: 128

Let me disabuse you of your notion that trade wind sailing is all breezy fast and smooth as silk, that a week out of San Francisco you raise the spinnaker and don’t touch it until the lei-scented approach to Tahiti. That *might* be the case if Mo intended Tahiti, but she is, in fact, climbing her way south and driving hard into a stiff, steady trade and an earnest if contrary sea.

Hour after hour, she pitches high and slams down with a hull-rattling thud, a thud like thunder that portends to open her seams and will wake you with a stopped heart from the deepest of sleeps.   Immediately she drops into a trough, the rail digs up blue water, and the bow often throws its take all the way to the cockpit; Mo lurches once, twice, and then she charges on to do it again.

For two weeks, maybe more.

Steadying one’s self with three appendages at all times is required, and four is better, or one risks being flung across the entire boat. Pots on the already gimbaled stove must be locked in place or dinner ends up on the floor in the head. The peanut butter jar, left but briefly unminded on the counter makes a mad dash for my bunk. The flashlight, set on the floorboards so that one can reach for the screw diver, rolls into the bilge, as does the screwdriver when it is abandoned in an attempt to save the flashlight.

I’ll admit it, with a single reef in both working sails, I’m a wee over canvassed. Mo is heeled to the degree that there is more pressure on my back as I type than there is on my rear. But such is necessary when driving into such a sea. With less, Mo jumps up and down but lacks the oomph to accelerate after a knock.

Heaving or no, chores must progress. One of today’s was to stitch up the #1 reef strap for the main. This strap goes through the reef tack and has a ring on both ends, one of which is pulled down and slipped into the reef clip on the boom gooseneck when reefing. The first reef position gets the most use, and the strap appears to be showing it. The stitching is pulling apart. I thought it would be clever to do a stitch-up while the strap was in use, as it’s unlikely to come out of use any time soon. But the mast area proved quite wet today, and there was much less room to shove a needle around without pricking one’s face than I had thought. Still, got one good stitch in (red twine). More to come.

2 Comments on “Hard Driving

  1. Hang on! Great course, speed and spirit! Your writing has captured the personal effort, frustration, and satisfaction, as well as the taste of salt spray on the lips .You are doing so well… Thanks for sharing!

  2. Did I miss something or did you mean to put SOUTH after your 1 degree of latitude?! For a moment I thought you’d been beaten back!

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