Light Wind Make Work

November 13, 2018

Day 40

Noon Position: 36 35S  118 50W

Course(t)/Speed(kts): S 5

Wind(t/tws): WNW 9 – 11

Sea(t/ft): SSW 8; W 1

Sky: Stratus on the horizon; otherwise clear

10ths Cloud Cover: 3

Bar(mb): 1022

Cabin Temp(f): 70

Water Temp(f): 59

Relative Humidity(%): 49 (wow, dry!)

Sail: Reaching with #1 and scandalized main.

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good (nm): 66

Miles since departure: 5106

Avg. Miles/Day: 128


For hours we had taken from the dying wind what we could, the sails softly spilling in the troughs some of what they’d so ardently gathered at the crests of that long, low swell from the south.

When I couldn’t feel wind on my face, I lowered the main, rolled up the jib and went to bed.


We have moon again. A yellow sliver behind a black veil of cloud, rising and setting late. For now, its aspect is sinister, but soon it will be gleaming.

Ten knots from the west at dawn. I set sail due south. Below us there’s a weak low passing to the east; if I can just get down to it, we’ll have plenty of wind for a day or two.

Forty days at sea. I celebrated by shaking out the cabin rugs and sweeping. How can I continue to track in dirt when outside is only water?

Then I saw that the batten pocket on the main had pulled out again. This is the same pocket that pulled off the track last year, and about at this position, the same pocket whose car I just rehung with new bearings a few days ago. The pin holding the pocket to the track is stainless steel and, over time, simply strips out the threads of the plastic pocket.

Light wind and a big sea is just murder on gear, but I can’t be dowsing the main every time the wind goes to 6 knots.

Plenty spares for this. Fixed by late afternoon, by which time we’d begun to pick up the NW winds of that low. I ran out the poled headsails and changed course to SE. Ever SE for the Horn.

One other worry from the day. When lowering the main, I noticed unusual friction on the halyard. It required much of my weight to bring the sail in. Possibly the line had slipped off its sheave. I don’t know, but the thought of a main stuck in the air during a blow is an unpleasant one. The halyard runs free now, but the issue is still open.

2 Comments on “Light Wind Make Work

  1. Hi Randall, I notice you seldom have a safety harness on. Some single-handers won’t go on deck without one. What are you thoughts on this piece of equipment and your safety?
    aloha Mary

  2. Mary – we sent a very stern note to Randall when we noticed the same. Joanna says this was one of the non-negotiation items on agreeing to let him go. Not ok right? Team F8

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