To Reef or Not to Reef

Day 12

Noon Position: 18 39.15N 122 42.11W
Course/Speed: SE 7+
Wind: NE 19 – 22
Sail: Two reefs in working jib, reef in main.
Bar: 1017 and dropping (1015 by 3pm)
Sea: NE 4 – 8
Sky: Clear
Cabin Temp: 85
Water Temp: 80

Miles last 24-hours: 161
Miles since departure: 1451

All night the boobie clung to the windward rail as Mo heaved, head tucked into feathers, a study in balance and nonchalance. Spray, illuminated by the port running light, exploded a Christmas-red every few minutes and showered the bird. It would simply untuck, shake, and re-tuck.

I made dinner, then had a beer in the cockpit, and every time I looked forward, the bird had moved a few feet aft. When I came on deck at midnight, it had scooted in increments all the way back to the shrouds, which apparently qualified as dry enough territory, for there it remained during each of my successive inspections. It waited until I rose for the day before casting off. It circled the boat twice at dawn and then headed east toward crimson clouds on the horizon.

Having a visitor was pleasant as was providing such a tenuous though clearly appreciated resource, a perch above the sea.

I’ve not seen the boobie all day.
Winds freshened in the morning and by noon were often more in the 20s than not. I’d run the night with a full working jib and a single reef in the main. Speeds were great with 8 knots not uncommon. At noon we’d clocked our best day yet, 161 miles. But Mo was really working, the deck often in spray back to the cockpit. I should reef again, I thought, but I wanted the speed, and it wasn’t until 2pm that my nature’s better angel came to the winning argument: a boat at sea should seek to carry as *little* sail as is needed.

Fine! Now we carry two reefs in the main and two in the jib. Immediately, wind took note by jumping to 25 knots. Seas have built to 8 feet. The boat is entirely closed up and is a sauna below. I’m down to underwear.

I’m taking wind flat on the beam and am thus falling off my line to 10N and 115W, but it can’t be helped for now.

4 Comments on “To Reef or Not to Reef

  1. Glad to see you are moving like the flying fish – wet and fast. Keep it up and sail right through the doldrums

  2. Yes, always listen to those angels. It is usually through my wife but sometimes it is directly. When you listen you will get even more guidance.

  3. If your friend returns just be sure you don’t allow it to handle any lines–or does it still count as single handed if the assistance comes from someone winged and without hands?

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