Month One Retrospective

6 Nov

November 3, 2018

Day 30

Noon Position: 22 19S 128 03W

Course(t)/Speed(kts): S 7

Wind(t/tws): E 17 – 21

Sea(t/ft): E 6 -8

Sky: Light Cumulus, sparsly distributed cirrus

10ths Cloud Cover: 4

Bar(mb): 1022

Cabin Temp(f): 81

Water Temp(f): 78

Relative Humidity(%): 70

Sail: Two reefs in genoa and main. Close reaching (60 degrees AWA is about the best I can do and maintain speed).

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good (nm): 147

Miles since departure: 3977

Avg. Miles/Day: 133

This is the pattern. Days are steady and stiff with wind. Skies are mostly clear. But at night it all goes to hell. Squalls come up from windward an hour after dark, and they have their own idea of a howling good time. Amazingly I am in the pilot house again, this time at 3am, when we get T-boned. 35 gusting 40. Sideways rain so heavy I think it might take my skin off. I ease sheets, let Mo run off before it. An hour later, 15 – 20. That’s the worst one, but there are others. All by way of explaining why I ran with a tripple reefed genoa and double reefed main last night.

Monte: So, Senior, how are you feeling?

Randall: Feeling? About what?

Monte: Your most recent 30 continuous days at sea.

Randall: I dunno. It’s just a month. What do you mean?

Monte: Are you not from California? I thought all those of California were most obliged to be queried about feelings.

Randall: That’s OK. I just don’t know where you’re coming from.

Monte: Let us try again … you’ve been at sea for 30 days. How is your health?

Randall: Ah! Excellent, I think. When we departed, both my shoulders were soar and I’d pulled a vertebrae in my mid-lower back that was bad enough it would wake me up at night. These have both enjoyed a more active sea life. The back pain is gone entirely and the shoulders are mostly better. I woke with a splitting headache last week, and was worried for a while about tainted water or eating expired food or spoiled apples, etc., but I think it was just dehydration. The pilot house is a furnace during the day. I drank three liters of water that day and haven’t had a repeat. I sit too much and don’t do leg exercises the way I should, but my upper body is already much stronger than when I departed from all the work at the winches.

Monte: That is pleasant to hear. And how’s your appetite? Your menu is the same as it was a year ago.

Randall: Also good. I’m not a shy eater. Breakfast is one full cup of Muesli with powdered milk and dried fruit. Lunch is hit and miss, but dinner is always a one-pot wonder stew that’s enough for two meals (actually probably three, but I eat it in two); you know, beef curry and rice; polenta with salmon and stewed tomatoes; shepherds pie; chicken pasta…all hearty if not very diverse. There’s sameness aplenty in my diet, but I don’t mind that as long as the meal is filling. That said, as usual, I’d like more fresh bread and cake, but that will have to wait till a different tack and a might less wind and sea.

Monte: Bueno, bueno. And how about sleep. Do you sleep?

Randal: When I can. Winds this year in the SE trades have been pretty damned strong and incredibly variable, with the variability seeming to come mostly at night. I’m up frequently these days. I have relaxed my old pattern of one hour of sleep followed by a series of two-hour sleeps until morning or interruption. Now I focus more on two and three hour intervals. The further south we get, the less there is for the AIS to get bothered about, and the more we can sleep, weather permitting. It’s that last part that’s been an issue so far, and I doubt that’s going to get any better.

Monte: I understand completely. An how about activity. Are you keeping busy?

Randall: Again, it’s been a busy leg. The list of small chores that need doing before we get smacked by our first low is still long, largely due to Mo the Water Flinger making anything forward of the pilot house off limits, except for reefing. I still need to repair the broken car on the main, rig the storm jib, reeve the new genoa topnlifts. I’d like to dive the hull before the water gets too cold. Still need to close off the dorade vents and water proof the hatches and the stove flu (I use coax tape).

Monte: I sense a calm coming after Pitcairn. You will have your chance.

Randall: And, I’ve been navigating as much as I can. Navigating and memorizing stars. Am up to 25 of the 58 nav stars. I can give you a tour any night you choose.

Monte: Oh, many thanks. I need but one star to steer by and a tiny light on the compass. So, senior, now back to my original question. How are you feeling?

Randall: Ah. Ok, I guess. There’s not a lot of joy to be had when one is driving into stiff trades, and I know what’s coming further south. Last time there was a sense of anticipation and excitement. Now its just anticipation. I feel like a professional with a job to do, and I’m just trying to be ready. For example, I haven’t admired a sunset or gone all bug-eyed over a bird this leg. I miss the sense of wonder. But fear will do that to you… And it’s a big ocean and plenty of room for wonder later on.

Monte: Claro que si.

This article was syndicated from The Figure 8 Voyage


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