On a Beat and WAVE SWEEPER Follow Up


Sept 27
Hanalei Bay to San Francisco
Day 17

Noon HST position: 41.45.90N by 131.15.47W
Miles since last noon: 154
Total miles of passage: 2409
Avg. Miles per Day: 142
Course: SE
Sail: Triple reef in jib and main. Wind angle: 70 – 80 degrees
Speed: 6
Wind: NE, ENE 25+
Sky: Clear, some scattered high cumulus
Bar: 1020
Air Temperature: 79 degrees
Sea Temperature: 62 degrees

Comfort cannot be expected by those who go apleasuring.
H. W. Tillman

All yesterday and today we have been just shy of a beat in 25 knot northeasterlies.

Seas are not large–some are to 10 feet–but they are steep and we are taking them beam on. They break over Mo with the least provocation, least provocation being that curling wave is here and boat is here. Smash. The decks are streaming.

From below the canon fire produced when Mo drops bodily off a wave onto her side or, when on her side, the next wave slams into her bilge, is startling, partly for the sound and partly for the whole-boat, things-coming-unglued vibration it produces.

One cannot be sure the watery collision wasn’t with a solid object that has torn a hole in the hull. Several times today I’ve checked under the engine to make sure the slimy inch of water gathered there is still but an inch (it is).

I open a galley cupboard for a can of soup and the entire contents empty onto the counter. I aim at the head, but gravity decides it is tired of such strict confines–today left is much more interesting than down. I reach out to steady myself but before my hand contacts the bulkhead, the bulkhead has thwapped me in the forehead.

Only lying down seems safe, and though my new berth on starboard is comfortable, I slept last night as if in a war zone.

That’s just what it’s like to beat into fresh northeasterlies.

ALL THAT SAID, our course is excellent and warms my heart. If this is as E as the NE winds get, then I called my northing perfectly, because as I write, Mo is on a rhumb line course for the Golden Gate Bridge. Distance: 441 miles.

Let’s hope I haven’t spoken too soon.

By way of follow up to the story on WAVE SWEEPER, the abandoned sailboat Mo and I discovered a day and a half ago, the below release from the Coast Guard was sent to me courtesy of Joe Cline, editor at the Pacific Northwest sailing magazine 48*North…


WARRENTON, Ore., — The Coast Guard coordinated the rescue of  a sailor in distress more than 990 miles west of the Columbia River by utilizing the Automated Mutual-Assistance Vessel Rescue system, Tuesday.

Responding to the AMVER request, the crew of the 1,098-foot container ship Oocl Utah altered their course to retrieve the distressed sailor, safely took him aboard the ship and is currently transporting him to their next port of call in Busan, South Korea.

Watchstanders at the Coast Guard 13th District Command Center received the notification of distress from the operator of the 37-foot sailing vessel Sea Sweeper stating that weather had torn his sails on the vessel’s lower mast, was having issues with its engine and batteries and was running low on potable water. During his transit the operator was also battling 30 mph winds and 8-foot seas.

Due to the great distance of the sailing vessel, the Command Center personnel issued the AMVER broadcast asking any mariners in the immediate area to assist the operator of the Sea Sweeper.

The crew Hong Kong flagged Oocl Utah responded to the request for assistance and proceeded with the rescue of the sailing vessel operator.

“The AMVER system was created for events just like this one,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Michael Brown, an operation specialist at the Coast Guard 13th District Command Center. “Thanks to the merchant mariners who volunteer for this program, help can be provided to those in need even when they are hundreds of miles away from traditional assistance.”

The operator of the sailing vessel was reportedly found without proper safety equipment including a life raft and emergency beacon onboard his vessel. The lack of essential equipment was a factor which prompted the AMVER assist. Boaters are reminded to always have proper safety equipment such as an Electronic Position Indicating Beacon, life raft, lifejackets or mustang suits, signaling and communication devices onboard their vessel before getting underway.

A message has been issued to all mariners operating in the area notifying them of the adrift vessel.

The AMVER system is aa assistance and rescue program with vessels from all over the world to participating in the program. AMVER helps provide assistance in areas beyond the reach of Coast Guard assets. Vessels participating in the AMVER program agree to have their general positions tracked by the AMVER system and volunteer to assist vessels in distress that may be in their area.

For more information about the AMVER program, click here: http://www.amver.com/default.asp



Flying the storm jib in tame conditions.



Routine maintenance on the Monitor tiller lines. Here “sewing” a new and old line together so as to ease running the new through the Monitor block assembly.

2 Comments on “On a Beat and WAVE SWEEPER Follow Up

  1. Apologies to the salts who read this, I’m a lubber who has to occasionally review nomenclature to see the picture that Cap’n Reeves paints. Looking up “Beating” (“Aha, it means close hauled,” he says to himself) I read: “Beating may be defined as sailing for twice the distance at half the speed and three times the discomfort.”

    • Hey Cowden, glad you were able to correctly come to the definition of beating. It is said that “gentlemen never sail to weather,” and your quote defines why (“to weather,” “beating,” “close hauled” generally being defined as attempting to make way into the wind).

      Now, did you catch my references to “the weather gauge”?

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