Doldrums. Ug. And a Birthday.

27 Apr

April 26, 2019

Day 203

Noon Position: 0 29S  30 52W

Course(t)/Speed(kts): WNW 2

Wind(t/tws): S 4

Sea(t/ft): Various, to 4

Sky: Clear (now)

10ths Cloud Cover: 0

Bar(mb): 1016

Cabin Temp(f): 90

Water Temp(f): 86

Relative Humidity(%): 68

Sail: Spinnaker.

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good (nm): 33

Miles since departure: 27,434

Avg. Miles/Day: 135

Leg North Miles: 4,484

Leg North Days: 37

Avg. Miles/Day: 121

Becalmed overnight, again.

With sundown, wind goes to zero, and the sea rolls Mo such that the sails are grinding themselves to bits.

I drop them at 6pm.

In the wee hours I climb on deck, and I can feel wind on my face. But the anemometer says that wind is three knots. I go back to bed.

At 5am, I wake to a downpour. I can hear it on the coach roof from my bunk. Wind on deck is brisk (relatively speaking). I open the big genoa, and we make four knots northwest.

I feel hope. Could this be the wind that takes us through?

By now we’ve had enough rain to rinse the boat, and so I open the tank caps and let the rain run into the tanks straight from the deck. Water is two inches thick in the scuppers. I also catch five gallons from the main cover for washing clothes.

The rain clears but not the sky. Wind moves aft and goes light. I raise the spinnaker. Within an hour, the spinnaker won’t fill.

The sky clears now. Wind moves forward but is still barely a whisper. I douse the spinnaker and go back to plain sail. We average one and a half knots, slowly making way through great carpets of golden weed.

Now it’s hot. I wear shirt and hat for protection. We inch toward a wall of cloud.

Late afternoon, we enter the wall. Wind to twelve knots from the northwest. Rain. We make five knots close hauled due north.

Hope. Could this be the wind that takes us through?

Over an hour, the wind slowly eases and backs into the north. We’re driven off northeast, but at one knot.

As I type. Drizzle. No wind.

The weather forecast continues to call for northeast trades in this sector. How it can miss the presence of horizon-to-horizon squall cells is baffling.

I’d motor in a heartbeat to get out of this, but my reserves are low. I used more fuel in the south for charging than I anticipated. I can’t motor endlessly, and I don’t know where the end of these cells is. I also can’t motor haphazardly as, given cloud and no speed, our charging has been low. I must use the engine to charge, so must wait until that is required.

Today is my lovely wife’s birthday.

This is a big one, and I was due to be home. The Figure 8 would be completed. I’d be in the study writing a fabulous adventure book and preparing for my interview in Oprah’s garden.

But then the Indian Ocean happened, and I had to start over.

I “had to,” which is to say “I wanted to.” I recall floating that idea to Jo in Hobart after the knockdown. And I remember her reaction. It was the same reaction she’s had for every wacko idea I’ve had since I first started talking about singlehanding. She was fully supportive.

I like big dreams, and I’ve had them since I was young, but I don’t think I can pull them off–and so I don’t start. It’s taken my wife, who says, “I think you should do that,” and later, “You’d better get on with it or stop talking about it” to get me to act.

Quite simply, without her to push me, I would not be out here now. My only regret is that I can’t be there today to support *her* and help celebrate her special day.

Instead of me at home, what she got was a birthday sentiment stuffed into a champagne bottle and tossed over the side.

Given our way of late, she may get that note before she sees me again!

This article was syndicated from The Figure 8 Voyage

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