Scurvy

30 Dec

December 28, 2018/Day 85

Noon Position: 45 45S 16 51E

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

Miles since departure: 11,551

Avg. Miles/Day: 136

I let Mo drift SE overnight on twin headsails poled out, three reefs. Pretty fast, but wind continued to veer north, so mid morning I took the leeward pole down and ran that sail, the number one genoa, free for a few hours. This gives Mo another ten to fifteen degrees to windward while still running both headsails. In the afternoon wind increased to the high twenties and low thirties, and I’ve gone all the way down to the number two with two reefs.

Again, the lesson is that wind velocity is not the sole factor in defining how much sail one can carry. The sea now is a boulder garden; not high but steep and confused and flat on the quarter. It slaps Mo around as if she were the new kid in school and this is the first recess. Two reefs settles things a bit. Monte works less hard. Mo falls over less often. It is also not fast, which is painful to the skipper.

At least having the clew of the sail close allowed me to change out a chaffed sheet end.

I woke at 4am with a throbbing headache, an occurence now frequent enough to count as a pattern. The pain is like what one would acquire from having gone on a bender followed by a rolling hitch with several round turns for good measure. But my nightly consumption of adult beverages on Mo is limited to one beer followed by, every few nights, a small glass of red wine, which hardly throws one three sheets to the wind. The issue just has to be dehydration, but on this particular day, I’d been careful to drink my two full liters of clear water.

The word that woke me was scurvy. The question: is a headache an early symptom? The realization: I’ve not been at all careful about vitamin C intake this voyage. The double whammy: I’m not even sure how much vitamin C I have aboard.

I’ve made a few ocean passages by now, but they are rarely long enough to run entirely out of fresh foods; even the longest Figure 8 1.0 leg was only 68 days. So, I’ve never been forced to establish a vitamin C intake regime. But the Figure 8 2.0 is now approaching 90 days, and we’re just getting started.

In the morning, I went directly to the medicines inventory list. My first aid kit and medications were assembled lovingly by my sister, a retired nurse, for the first Figure 8 attempt. She did such a thorough job that I didn’t even glanse at, much less audit, these stores before departing on the Figure 8 2.0.

I scroll the neatly laminated five pages of alphabetized indications, also the work of my sister, till I reach “Scurvy.” The note states: “Ascorbic Acid deficiency. Take vitamin C.” In red next to this it says, “Randall says he will handle getting vitamins.”

I did?

I have no recollection of that or of “handling” it either. What an embarrassment, to have to turn for Cape Town because I’d forgotten a sailor’s most basic medicine!

I spent the next hour digging out any bottle or vile that contained the precious acid.

Upshot: I did handle it. Oodles of Airborne, multivitamins, dehydrated veg pills, etc. In fact, I have quite a treasure trove. The gotcha is that I should have audited these for expiration dates before the second departure, but even after weeding-out the expired and soon to expire, I could likely make it to Mars.

And according to Wiki, headache is not a early symptom of scurvy. So, I’m back to dehydration as the culprit without knowing exactly the cause.

This article was syndicated from The Figure 8 Voyage

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