Small Disasters and Monte’s Air of Nonchalance

31 Jan

January , 2019/Day 117

Noon Position: 43 20S  128 19E

Course(t)/Speed(kts): ;E 7

Miles since departure: 16,282

Avg. Miles/Day: 139


It was a day of small disasters.

First, rain came in after I’d bagged the drogue and got us underway, bringing with it a shifting wind the likes of which I’ve never seen. From 11 knots to 35 knots and anywhere from 295 degrees to 239 degrees. The poles went up and then came down. The working jib went free and full and then reefed and then full again; then gybed and then… And all the while, Mo heaved and gyrated like a demented bull, and we made a meager 5 knots of way.

Second, by this time the batteries were well down (the hydrogenerator needs more boat speed than supplied when on a drogue), so after setting sail, I hung myself over the stern to re-lash what had failed a few days ago. Weather was as bit fresh for such an exercise, and though I only dunked my right arm to the elbow, one of Mo’s great rolls lifted a lake of water onto the deck that ran aft, around the stern and under me. Well, through me, more like. Down the front of my foulies; up my legs and in one boot.

I’ve protected these boots for 16,000 miles. First water-in-boot episode. Hopping mad.

Third, in the afternoon, I misjudged a step while cleaning up lines on the foredeck and slipped. Air born for a moment, and then my tailbone came down hard on the ankle-high aluminum rails that guard the dorade vents (pictured). Intense pain. I laid there in the rain for some time wondering if I would be able to stand. I could. Nothing broken. I can’t sit in comfort and the sore spot is right where one would rest his weight when propping body against bulkhead (my third point of contact), but by next morning the pain was same and not worse, so that’s good.

The rest of the day I spent adjusting sail every half hour due to these damned wind shifts. What a place this is…

Randall: Some days I hate the wind. Fickle, capricious, unsteady and decidedly unhelpful!

Monte: No, no, Senior. Hush. Please do not say these things. The wind, she is shy, and if she hears your anger she will run away and hide. Instead you must act happy before the wind and always carry about you the air of nonchalance. I carry a bottle of The Air of Nonchalance in my back pocket at all times just for this reason.

Randall: I don’t think that means…

Monte: Oh yes. It is a special place in Portugal; I will take you there someday. Usually, The Air it is stocked by your local fortune teller, in vats that are kept hot and out of direct light, so I am told. I was very lucky to get this bottle. I went to the fortune teller in my village, and at first she did not know what I was talking about, but I kept explaining The Air of Nonchalance, what it was, where it was from; its many uses, how badly I needed it, and suddenly she recalled that, yes, she did in fact have some after all, but only a very small amount, so, sadly, she could not give me the customary discount for having brought my own bottle.

Randall: Yes, I can see you were very lucky.

Monte: Indeed. So, I just carry this little vial; it is enough, just enough to convince the wind you are unconcerned. And then she will blow as she is supposed.

Randall: Monte, you are a font.

This article was syndicated from The Figure 8 Voyage


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