A Mistake

13 Mar

March 11, 2019/Day 158

Noon Position: 50 41S  102 16W

Course(t)/Speed(kts): E 4

Wind(t/tws): N 8 – 10

Miles since departure: 21,699

Avg. Miles/Day: 137


The night was clear, the north wind, cold, and stars twinkled with an icy intensity. But by daybreak we were enveloped in a thick, drippy fog that slowly smothered everything except the north swell on which Mo rolled luxuriously. By afternoon I dropped the sails, else they’d rip themselves to shreds.

Wind was due to come from the NW by evening, so I rigged both poles in anticipation. While lowering the port pole, the deck came alive with the tapping of tiny balls the size, shape, and nearly the color of English peas. The end cap on the pole car had split open, spilling its bearings.

The thing is I knew last week that it had split. I distinctly recall lowering the car to deck level so I could tighten the fasteners on the hinge assembly. I saw the crack, even touched it with my index finger. I thought, “I’ll have to fix that.” Then I didn’t.

Why not?

I have had these end caps split before. I know that once cracked, it won’t be long before they fail altogether. Moreover, I had recently seen its replacement while searching The Hardware Store (forepeak locker full of spares) for a different part. Yet I did nothing. It’s not as though I intended to let it fail first. I simply saw and forgot. I didn’t even add it to the chores list.

It’s a minor job, the fix, and it’s not as if we had a race to lose today. But it has me worried. What other maintenance issues have I unconsciously deferred? We are coming to the pinnacle of this section of the voyage. There are plenty of failures that could be damned inconvenient right about 56S and 68W.

Am I lazy? Too tired? Overwrought? Answer: I don’t know.

“You just made a mistake is all,” says a voice. Sure. I get that. But when you depend on your own actions for your survival, such mistakes can be costly.

The pole is repaired and back in service. Sails are out and softly filling. The wind is west, 11 knots. The sun has set. And we go. But ever so painfully, painfully slowly.

This article was syndicated from The Figure 8 Voyage


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