Of Boobies and a Water Paddle

Day 160/38

Noon Position: 04 45S 153 44W

Course/Speed: NNE6+

Wind: ESE20

Bar: 1011, falling

Sea: E8

Sky: Cumulus to 20%

Cabin Temperature: 87

Water Temperature: 83

Sail: #2, one reef; Main, one reef, reaching/close reaching

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good: 135

Miles this leg: 4,647

Avg. Miles this leg: 122

Miles since departure: 21,754

Two bits of news:

One, overnight we had a guest, a juvenile boobie (possibly redfooted). He attached himself to the dorade vent grab-bar above the pilot house at about sundown and went head-under-wing asleep. He was so invested in his snoozing that he never budged the several times I made sail adjustments in the night, this even though the sheet winch was but a foot from his perch.

I marveled at his success. Mo jumped and heaved, which is her want on this leg, such that I’m always attached by both hands and feet when I move about, but this bird could stay attached with just two feet and sleep into the bargain.

He woke at sunup, not at day-break nor twilight (I checked). As the orange orb rose above cloud, out came the head. A blueish face gave me a crosseyed look. Then he went off in search of breakfast.

He left parting gifts, as I expected, on the pilot house roof, squid, I’d say, given the inky quality of the ooze. I didn’t mind this contribution, but the spray on the working jib I could have done without.

Two, I came on deck mid morning to see why we’d gone so close winded only to find that Monte had broken a safety tube. This is the first such failure since February 2nd, and between then and now, Monte has steered (or should I say, piloted) the better part of a Southern Ocean lap, including gales and knockdowns, and two weeks of pounding in the trades. In round numbers, 12,000 miles of hard driving without a single incident.

It could well be that it’s the pounding in the trades that is the more evil on Monitor’s water paddle. Coming off a wave, even these little eight-footers, and landing laid over at the bottom puts a heavy shock load on the rudder and Monte’s water paddle. The break was at the fastener in the hinge–metal fatigue, I’m guessing.

In any case, I now have a spare safety tube and pendulum hinge already assembled. So, the time it takes to flip on the autopilot, fish the water paddle from the sea, swap out the tube and hinge, and re-attach all is down to Formula-One pitstop times. Or, in sea time, about fifteen minutes.

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