Kodiak to Straits of Juan de Fuca
Noon position: 55.53.94N by 146.04.96W
Miles since last noon: 136
Total miles of passage: 244
Avg. Miles per Day: 122
Speed: 5.5 – 7 knots
Wind: NW to WNW 10 – 15
I’m measuring days noon to noon; so, though it’s technically my third day at sea, noon today represented my second full day.
Surprisingly little has changed.
Except for the temperature, 52 degrees before the sun warms the cabin to the mid 60s, this has felt like a trade wind passage. The wind went soft as the sun dipped below the horizon last night and has returned today, building slowly and veering west. By now (4pm) we’re back to winds touching 20 knots and boat speeds over 7 knots are usual.
And we’re still before the wind with the two poled out headsails that I’ve barely touched since setting them. All I’ve done: as the wind has gone into the west, I’ve let forward the windward pole and pulled in on the leeward so that even though wind is now almost 60 degrees forward of dead astern, we’re still “wind and wing.” It’s odd looking, but surprisingly stable. A first for me.
I hadn’t wanted to buy a sloop. Too simple, boring; not enough sail combinations. But I hadn’t counted on the excitement, not to mention efficiency, of a double headsail sloop with twin poles. And somehow, I’ve ended up with just as many lines to pull on as I had with my little ketch.
Not all has been rosy, however. On day one I realized the AIS wasn’t working. While resolving this by sticking my head deep inside the electronics cabinet, a lurch sent my left hip hard up against the engine panel and I broke the ignition key off inside the switch. This required figuring out how to turn the engine off without a key and extract the offending part without the tweezers I have specific memory of buying…but clearly did not.
Those are the easy ones. Today I noticed that I’ve broken the rail car on the port genoa pole, which became apparent when it began spilling its bearings onto the deck. On closer inspection, I’ve found that the top and bottom bracket (made of plastic) which hold the bearings in have split. I’m guessing I did this when jamming the pole hard up against the foreword shroud–a mistake not easy to spot from the cockpit where the pole is worked. I now dash forward each time I set the pole to make sure it’s not on the shroud. But too late… This likely means that when a shift of wind requires me to dismount the poles, that one is not going back up till it’s fixed. A right bummer, as we say in British Pubs in California.
We’re passing south of the Alaska Seamount Province, specifically we’re about 25 miles below and between Quinn Seamount and Surveyor Seamount. For reasons unknown to me, this region is completely empty. After half a day of intense birdlife, now not a one. No ships, no jet contrails. Nothing but me, the boat, and the most expansive horizon you’ll ever see.