Champagne Sailing

11 Jan

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Nicky asked me earlier today about our passage south from the Chesapeake to the Caribbean in November. That one is one of the more challenging ocean passages, especially that time of year – 9 days, starts off cold, cross the Gulf Stream, etc.

”You’ll know for sure if you like ocean sailing after doing that one,” I told her. ”This passage right now, everybody like this!”

We’re five days into a warm, dry, downwind sail the whole way from Lagos. The boat’s been flat, the wind’s never been above 15 knots, there hasn’t been a drop of seawater on deck, nor a drop of rainwater from the sky. Not exactly an accurate representation of what life at sea can really be like. I’m not complaining.

Eggs & Oatmeal

Mia made me oatmeal this morning around 0900, and I ordered it with butter, salt and two (lightly) fried eggs on top. Our crew was not impressed.

“Are the eggs runny too?” asked Nicky in her lilting English accent. “They sure are!” I replied enthusiastically. “Ugh, no thanks!”

Don’t knock it ‘til you try it! I don’t normally eat oatmeal, but stick some butter and a few fried eggs on it, and man it’s tasty!

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Until this morning I’d been making hurricane eggs for the crew, which has become something of an ISBJORN specialty. Unsliced bread, lots of butter, cut a hole in a thick slice and crack an egg inside in the pan. Nicky hesitated on day 1, not wanting to consume the carbs (my dirty secret is that I don’t actually eat theses every morning, for the same reason – instead, I make myself scrambled eggs once all the hurricane eggs are done).

“If you knew how much butter was involved, you wouldn’t be worry about the carbs!” joked Mark, Nicky’s husband, who sounds like John Lennon when he talks. Is that a Liverpool accent? I think that’s where he’s from.

Ben didn’t mind the carbs – he ate three. Everyone else, Nicky included in the end, ate 2. We’ve just about exhausted our supply of good hurricane egg bread, hence the oatmeal this morning.

Offshore Swimming

We stopped for the obligatory swim yesterday afternoon. The wind had gone light and shifted into the east, so we were way off course with the spinnaker still up, having to bear away towards the west as the wind shifted. After dropping it, we set the genoa, hove-to and did our traditional mid-trip clean-up. I rigged the ladder on the port, lee side of ISBJORN and one-at-a-time we jumped overboard. The water was a refreshing 70º, perfect temperature to feel nice and clean but not so cold that it was uncomfortable. Everybody took their turn and soaped up, rinsing in the freshwater shower behind the helm.

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Last night was another uneventful one, with beam-reaching winds of 10-12 knots, ISBJORN calmly moseying along at 6-8 knots under a cloudless, star-filled sky. At the risk of sounding redundant, the stars are really something out here – the air is clean and clear, and with no moon at all on this trip, the celestial display is breathtaking. Truly.

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Big Nick, the G-O-A-T

We’re inside 100 miles now to Las Palmas, and the only thing between us and the marina is the large outer breakwater that keeps the seas out. At 6 knots, we ought to arrive right around first light, maybe 16 hours or so from now, just in time for some champagne with breakfast (to cap off our week of champagne sailing, appropriately) and a walk ashore.

I got a text from my dad that the Eagles did it again with Nick Foles. Apparently he threw a touchdown with under a minute to go to take a 1-point lead, then the Bears rather dramatically missed a field goal at the last second, only after Doug Pederson had called a timeout, nullifying their first attempt, which would have been good. A real heart attack game, one I’m sorry I missed. I’ll get to see the next round in Las Palmas to see if the Foles magic can go another week.

This article was syndicated from 59º North Sailing // 59º North Blog

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