Squalls, Squalls and Cotton Balls … and your F8Site Comments

Quick notes from the publishing team. Yes the date is out of synch on this. Nothing is broken. Just some missed communications. Posting now so you can read all the answers. Note – if you’ve posted a question before Jan 21 then Randall hasn’t received your question yet. Stay tuned.

January 21, 2019

Day 109

Noon Position: 45 49S  105 59E

Course(t)/Speed(kts): E 7 – 8

Wind(t/tws): SWxS 22 – 25

Sea(t/ft): W 8

Sky: Squalls in the morning cleared to cotton ball cumulus

10ths Cloud Cover: 8

Bar(mb): 1019 rising (1022 by evening; still rising)

Cabin Temp(f): 57 (48 overnight)

Water Temp(f): 50

Relative Humidity(%): 70

Sail: Working jib and main; both with two reefs; close reach on starboard

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good (nm): 174 (Great day runs recently. I think we had some favorable current today.)

Miles since departure: 15,250

Avg. Miles/Day: 140

Days since Cape Horn: 52

Miles since Cape Horn: 7,616

Avg. Miles/Day: 146

Longitude Degrees Made Good (degrees minutes): 4 06

Total Longitude Made Good Since Cape Horn (degrees minutes): 172 35

Avg. Long./Day: 3.32

Squalls are evil forces sent from distant galaxies expressly to plague the solo sailor and his tiny vessel. They push us off course or steal our wind; they make us reef and then to regret the reef ten minutes later, and the one time we rush on deck without foulies, they dump with rain or sleet.

One squall after the other all night and into middle morning. Then they wandered off to be replaced by cotton ball cumulus, and just so, the wind evened-out at 25 knots. Much preferred.

To all appearances, it has been a tropical trade wind day. But don’t let appearances fool you. The temperature listed above is not what you will find on deck, and as we are upwind in a stiff breeze, Mo is throwing water around as if it were free, or at least on sale.

It’s so rough and wet that we’ve had to close both the pool and the volleyball court on the Lido Deck, and all guests have been asked to retire to the Casino or to their quarters. As I favor neither secondhand smoke nor gambling, I’ve spent the day in my quarters reading Wikipedia articles about Roman Emperors. It’s just what singlehanders do.


Joanna has sent over another batch of comments from the Figure 8 site. Again, thank you for being involved and for the encouragement. I can’t answer each one, but here are a few with questions or remarks that begged a retort.

Deb writes: I presume you like to get clean occasionally just to keep the scent down. How do you manage?

Randall: Regarding clean, there is only so much a person can do in a small boat. One’s own scent is not all that noticeable after the first … 100 days … and I do wash teeth, face, head and beard regularly. But I can’t wash clothes down here, nor bring more than a few changes, nor can I shower, as such. And frankly, these temps discourage sponge baths. I do have a quantity of baby wipes. And I think we’ll leave it at that…

Mary writes: My, my, Randall, so many Hawaii connections! We should have a Hawaii end-of-voyage party for you when all is completed! Can you and Jo come???

Randall: Jo has been known to visit me in warm places, so there is a chance!

Howard and Stephanie write: Well Really, Randall !! As a retired Kona coffee farmer, total devotee, roaster, and your friend, we really must have a prolonged heart to heart, and someday, a coffee tasting fest. You and Jo are invited to our home on Whidbey Island for that. Maybe my skepticism will be subdued and I will learn a lot… maybe not. What grind do you use that will fully extract in a few seconds with sub-212 degree water? And at what final temperature is the coffee roasted? Do you experience bloating of the sealed bags due to CO2 offgassing? As always, we eagerly follow along…

Randall: LOL. May I repeat from the vid’s opener? “Most adventuring types subsist the duration on instant coffee.” That’s the comparison, not the professional coffee house. 🙂 Many thanks for the invite to Whidbey. Would be grand. Hope all’s well.

S/V Voyager Good to see your progress Randall. Do you carry any source of heat to warm and dry things out?

The boat has a Refleks gravity-fed diesel heater that I don’t use at sea (the flues are stowed in the bow) and a circulation heater that runs off engine coolant (hot) water, but that requires running the engine, which I would not do just for heat. I make up for that with layers and calories. I eat for three. That helps. And, in fact, you get used to lower temps.

It’s the damp that’s demoralizing after a time. Careful as one may be, he can’t help but track wet below, and it eventually goes everywhere. So the infrequent sunny days are a treasure and used to the fullest to dry clothes and dry and air out the cabin.

Deb writes: How do you reach parts of the Monitor when underway and hangon in a seaway? Some in the GGR race are breaking safety tubes and then getting in trouble while trying to fix while hove too. I assume you have an autopilot you can engage?

Randall: Yes, the boat has a heavy duty autopilot, which I only use in very light air or when working on Monte. As to getting at Monte’s nethermost anatomy, I can reach everything when hanging over the side. I tether and hook my boots around the quarter cleats. Pretty secure, actually. Yes, doing a safety tube change in heavy weather is a tough job. It helps if you’ve done it many times before and have a full tube and paddle set-up and ready to swap. But the chances are you are going to get wet.

Ben Shaw: Fog here, fog on the opposite side of the world. Must be to keep things in balance. Loved the SF Giants shout-out from the other side. Keep up the Mo-mentum. We’re really enjoying following and every couple days Norah says “it’s time to update Randall on the map.”

Randall: Hello Norah! I remember meeting you on Angel Island. I just wanted to say thank you for following along on a map. That’s very cool. I hope I can see the map at some point. And I hope someday you get to visit these parts of the world if you want to. You have to buy your own boat though. You can’t have mine. Sorry.

tcgibb writes: The Totorore Voyage (please note correct spelling!! Americans always want to shorten things!) is one of the most amazing books about sailing the great southern ocean. I lost my copy and cry when I think of it. As for you I expect to see, in the future, a great tome on the trials and tribulations in both the extremes of the southern and northern oceans. By the way what’s your timeline for St. John’s? Maybe we see you there on Sage!

Randall: Hey Tony, thank you for the gracious spelling correction. Re Totorore, just incredible. Gerry would not consider up where I am…at 46S…to be Southern Ocean sailing…wind too light…too balmy. As to St John, it would be really MOST EXCELLENT to see Sage there. The best Moli ETA is–many months. But projecting: Cape Horn by mid March; St John in June.

Eric Moe writes: I think it has been 222 days since Mo has had the kite up. Give Puffy a chance!

Randall: Not so. I flew Big Puffy on the way down. Did you miss it? Will attempt a kite flying session down here before we exit. Maybe.

Satchmo writes: Thanks for sharing your breakfast and your character with us! You inspire my sense of adventure. May I request more video from the end of the whisker pole? Randall rawks.

Randall: Funny. I haven’t been to the cross trees yet, but I’ll try.

Pam Wall writes: Randall, I loved this thoughtful assessment and do believe that you are breaking new ground as much as my hero, Captain James Cook! I remember my husband, Andy Wall, used to say to me, after many miles like you of self taught celestial navigation, and then breaking into the electronic world years and miles and landfalls later, “Don’t you think, Pammy,” he would say to me, “that Captain Cook would have given his right arm for a GPS?” !!!!! And so the world of invention goes, but without those to discover the almost unattainable, where would we be? No where!!! Love your posts and photos of brownies actually made me drool!!!!!

Randall: Hey Pam. I like Andy’s perspective on Cook. He probably would have been an early adopter. I was amazed to learn recently that not only did Cook have one (or two or three) of Harrison’s new chronometers–cutting edge stuff at the time–he also carried a barometer, also new and thought to be a useless toy by “true” mariners. I really respect Cook and contemporary, Captain Robert Fitzroy, for going against the grain and embracing new technology. Thanks for all your comments and for following along.

Eric Mathewson writes: Randall ! Wow! Congrat’s on your 100th Day! Has been a lot of fun following your exploits. Keep up the great writing.

Randall: Thanks Eric. Best to you and all at WideOrbit. I’ve appreciated the support.

Laurence M. Boag writes: How fun! Glad to see you are doing well and in such good spirits. I have been following your voyage with every post. I aim also glad to see the book case is still on the bulkhead and is functioning well despite a rough sea or two… or three!

Randall: Hey there. Book shelf hasn’t budged–even though overstuffed. Great add. Thanks again, Laurence.

Skip writes: Thank you for sending this video. I know this can get expensive. Hearing your voice is great and watching your video is just so amazing. It makes me feel like I am onboard with you. To share these moments with you from such a remote part of the world is just amazing.

Randall: Thank you, Skip. Once I buck-up, it’s actually a lot of fun to make the video. And I am continually amazed that sending such a thing is even possible from sea. I’ve been reading Cook’s journals recently, and the contrasts between then and now couldn’t be more stark–on many levels, one being available technology.

Oh, and thank all the Virtual Voyagers for funding the equipment and data plan used to send in the videos.

3 Comments on “Squalls, Squalls and Cotton Balls … and your F8Site Comments

  1. Randall, your posts are always of great interest…and after I read them, I forward them to several friends/neighbors who also want to read them. I am hoping that Pam Wall might see my post…we met in Bora Bora back in ’86 & I learned so much from her, Andy and their two children about cruising…much different from what you are doing!

    Pam, if you do happen to see this, I am sending best regards…Mary Francis (formerly on “VIVANT”)!

  2. I still find it hard to imagine being able to look up Roman Emporers, or anything, on Wikipedia while at sea!!!

  3. “Excellent blog you have got here.. It’s difficult to find
    quality writing like yours these days. I seriously appreciate people like you!
    Take care!!”

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