Progress and Another Question

June 27, 2018

Day 180/9

Noon Position: 40 49N 151 38W
Course/Speed: NE6
Wind: WSW10-15
Bar: 1024, steady
Sea: SW5
Sky: Fog. Still dense fog.
Cabin Temperature: 70
Water Temperature: 57
Sail: Twins still polled. Still running.

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good: 142
Miles this leg: 1294
Avg. Miles this leg: 144

Miraculously, winds are holding and we continue to make solid, if not record, progress in the right direction. That’s the good news. The bad news is the long range forecast suggests Mo and I will have to round the mark at 45N–the mark being a blob of still air–before we can turn for home. That’s essentially a visit to Portland, Oregon before we see the Golden Gate Bridge. Could be worse. On my first passage from Hawaii to the home, we were blown all the way to Tofino, a small town half way up the west coast of Vancouver Island.

Two ships in the night. The Cosco Antwerp and the Greenlake, the former headed to Los Angeles, the latter to Japan. We are crossing over shipping’s Great Circle route between Asia and North America. The first passed within a mile just after midnight. Unseen. I looked long and hard. Fog has been heavy for two days. The second passed an hour after sunrise as a featureless dark hulk on a horizon of featureless gray. Neither said a word.

More questions from my friend, Kelton. And by the way, if you have a question, feel free to post it in comments. I’ll be happy to get to it as the passage allows…

Question: Can you mention a few things you wish you’d brought but didn’t and will be sure to have for the Figure 8 2.0 in the fall.


1) Storm Windows. They were on the to-do list before last October’s San Francisco departure, but that list was very, very long, and some items had to be de-prioritized. Why de-prioritize such an essential piece of safety kit, you ask? Well, I’m the boat’s fourth owner, and all previous owners have taken Mo into harm’s way. She’s been three times around Cape Horn, twice to Antarctica, twice through the Arctic’s Northwest Passage. No previous owner has broken a window. Therefore.

In hindsight, clearly and dangerously wrong. I have them now. Kindly made for me by Daryll Ridgeway in Hobart, Tasmania.

2) Watch Pintles. I have and use two, inexpensive Timex watches. $50 each, if I recall. They are good, solid kit, simple, small, and practical. In particular, I like that by pressing the crown, the entire face lights up, and in the dark of night, gives an unambiguous readout for tired eyes.

But what I failed to realize is that life on a boat is a rough enterprise, and even small watches get caught on things. Well before Cape Horn, I’d popped the pintles (no, I don’t know what watch people call these) several times. At first they fell luckily–into the cockpit well, into the gunnel, even into the fold of a sail. But eventually my luck ran out. I lost two overboard and was, thus, down to one watch. I replaced these pintles in Hawaii and now have spares.

3) Bed Sheets and Pillow Cases. I brought two sets of fitted twin sheets for the bunks in the main salon on which I sleep and two pillow cases, thinking that…well, I wasn’t thinking. It’s not as though its convenient, ever, to wash sheets and pillow cases while at sea, nor could I ever spare the water, nor would they ever dry if such was attempted in the south. I’ve actually not used sheets at all in months. The bunks are covered in Sunbrella fabric, and this, at least, protects the upholstery. I pull a sleeping bag over me at night and call it finished business. But it would be nice to freshen that top layer occasionally. But how many sets to bring?

4) Pink #2 pencil erasers–on their pencil sticks. (This is the suggestion of Kelton, the author of this question.) Everything gets damp on a boat, even things protected by watertight caps, like the AA battery bay on my LED headlamps. I carry three such lamps, and all three have, at one time or another, decided to fail.

Some things are essential, and for working the deck at night, a headlamp is one of them. Why the lamps are failing is not entirely resolved, but one thing is certain, the battery contact deep in the battery bay is corroded.

How to polish it? Not sand paper. I’ve tried Scotchbright-type pads cut into tiny pieces. #fail. But the abrasive of a #2 pencil eraser, says Kelton, is soft enough to brighten the contact without injuring it, and the pencil is the perfect length. Bought a six-pack in Hawaii.

One Comment on “Progress and Another Question

  1. That’s a short list for such a long voyage. I guess you did pretty well in predicting what you’d need.

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