Regression to the Mean

2 May

April 30, 2019/Day 207

Noon Position: 05 52N  34 16W

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

Wind(t/tws): NExE 12

Miles since departure: 27,842

Avg. Miles/Day: 135


We haven’t logged a 160 mile day since March 27th, a week after Cape Horn. But today we were fast again. It feels good to see Mo glide out the miles.

These recent slow, hot weeks have put me in mind of the idea of *regression to the mean.* It’s a phrase my baseball friend and I mutter to each other when our home team follows a glorious winning streak with a losing streak of equal profundity.

The trouble with baseball, of course, is that the season is monstrously long, and it’s this season length that makes the game a competition not just between teams but also between those teams and the law of averages.

If you’re a football fan, you have some justification in believing that your team may eventually have its perfect, loss-less season. But then, the football season is a mere 18 games compared to the 160 baseball teams must slog through. We baseball fans think our team has had a winning season if it finishes above 500.

Just so Mo and Randall. As we approach the 30,000 mile mark, the law of averages has begun to take its pound of flesh out of our dailies. At our height, and prior to New Zealand, we were up to 146 miles a day. I was feeling pretty chuffed with myself and Mo. We were flying. But then, surprisingly, the Pacific leg to Cape Horn slowed us down, and this leg north has been a crawl.

Still, we may win some miles back over the next two weeks.

A strange incident this afternoon. An intermittent target on the AIS monitor. When the alarm first sounded, the target was already close, only six miles off and headed right for us. But it kept blipping on and off the screen. This I have never seen.

Over the course of several blips, I saw the vessel was the HUANG G MING, a Chinese fishing boat. Thinking that their AIS may be malfunctioning, I altered course, slowing Mo and moving to pass under her stern.

HUANG G MING then altered course directly for us and did not alter course further until we had solid visual contact.

As she passed close under Mo’s stern, I could see the crew lining the weather rail, watching as Mo moved by. They must not see many sailboats.

This article was syndicated from The Figure 8 Voyage


  1. Rich Inman

    Regarding Mo making good distance per day again: How much growth have you accumulated below (on Mo, not you) ? And have you a safe way to scrub Mo’s bottom? I recall seeing Matt Rutherford’s boat when she arrived here in Annapolis, and was amazed at the vast colony of “traveling companions” (as Matt called them) attached to St. Brendan.
    s/v Oriole

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