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9 Oct

October 8, 2018

Day 4

Noon Position: 29 21N 130 33W

Course/Speed: SSW 6

Wind: NNE to NE 15 – 18

Sea: NNE to 10

Sky: Overcast with drizzle

Bar: 1020, falling

Cabin Degrees Fahrenheit: 72

Water Degrees Fahrenheit: 69

Percent Relative Humidity: 74

Sail: Both genoas poled out; Mo is running dead downwind.

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good: 166

Avg. Miles/Day: 656

Miles since departure: 164

Navigation alarms woke me at 2am.

I jumped into the pilot house to examine the chart plotter, which, in night vision mode, was really too dim to distinguish anything except that that it was on. And, in my rush, I’d forgotten my glasses. Imagine the bleep bleep bleep of alarms loud enough to call up firemen from sleep and a half naked man pressing his eyes close to of the a small screen. Searching. To no avail.

I returned to the salon, grabbed a shirt and glasses, and pushed the power button on the plotter. Ah. A little more brightness revealed the source of the alarm, a ship heading NW on a tight intercept, the Queen Kobe. She was listed simply as a “Cargo Vessel,” but I imagined her hold stuffed with expensive beef, beef that, given her meager 10 knots of way, she didn’t mind aging a bit enroute.

Such slow speed is unusual in a merchant vessel of size; fifteen to twenty knots is more the norm, so our intercept only very slowly intercepted. Then there was the fact that winds had increased to a steady 30 knots. With a double reefed main and #2 genoa, Mo was a bit over-canvased and made a crazy path through the ten-foot seas. One minute our closest point of approach to Kobe was 5 miles; the next it was 1.7. Nothing for it but to stay up to ensure that these vessels inching towards each other never, in fact, met.

Finally Kobe’s two white lights moved to starboard. By now it was nearly 4am. I put another reef in the main and slept until sunup without interruption.

Wind has veered more into the east, and I’ve let it push Mo to a course with more west in it than south. Our tack is a fast one, and westing on hurricane Sergio is not a bad thing. But the early morning and then the late morning weather forecast showed Sergio starting to make his turn toward Baja, so after the noon sight, I doused the main and put Mo before the wind with both genoas poled out. By now winds had dropped to 15 knots, and with both sails clouding out and full, Mo raced on.

What a pleasure to run before the wind in such a manner. Mo rolls gently like the ship that she is; she slides down the cresting seas throwing a roaring white wake while inside all is quite as a church.

I spent the afternoon at light chores, coming in for a snack or a rest when squalls brought drizzle; returning when the sun came out.

With Sergio heading east (and long my he continue to do so), Mo should have two more days of good wind. Will use them to press south.

This article was syndicated from The Figure 8 Voyage


  1. Nick

    Godspeed Randall. My wife, two children, and I will be heading south from San Francisco in Sept. of 2020. So great to see you underway again.

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