Randall Reeves

Observations of a Stranger

21 Jan

Day 69

Noon Position: 48 05S 39 44W

Course/Speed: ENE 6-7

Wind: W 17

Sail: Twins poled

Bar: 1014

Sea: W to 10

Sky: Clear, bright sun

Cabin Temp: 58

Water Temp: 51

Miles last 24-hours: 179. Best single day for miles yet, I believe.

Miles since departure: 8993

I am a stranger in a strange land, an alien exploring an environment for which he is wholly unsuited, can barely comprehend. I cannot swim with the white-sided dolphins. I cannot fly with the chocolate petrel. I cannot surf the waves they both surf. Disassociated from my ship, I am dead ...

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A Fine Day For Sailing

20 Jan

Day 68

Noon Position: 48 40S 43 54W

Course/Speed: SE 7+

Wind: WNW 25

Sail: Twins poled out, heavily reefed

Bar: 1002

Sea: W8

Sky: Rain

Cabin Temp: 61

Water Temp: 51

Miles last 24-hours: 164

Miles since departure: 8754

We’ve been sailing with the twins poled out for three and a half days.

It’s a fine way to make miles.

The Commodore, whose father, Warwick Tompkins wrote 50 SOUTH TO 50 SOUTH, tut-tutted when he saw Mo’s sail configuration. His boat, Flash Girl, was undergoing a refit at KKMI in Richmond at the same time Mo and I were ...

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Bread

19 Jan

Day 67

Noon Position: 48 42S 47 48W

Course/Speed: ESE 5

Wind: WNW 10

Sail: Both headsails poled out

Bar: 1006

Sea: Flat

Sky: Overcast, squalls to windward

Cabin Temp: 65 (because I’m baking bread)

Water Temp: 49

Miles last 24-hours: 89

Miles since departure: 8590

I put myself on short sleep last night because the weather forecast called for an increasing wind that would shift into the west. Both big headsails were poled out at the time, Mo could be easily overpowered, and I wanted to be ready to take action if needed.

Each hour I rose, it was ...

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Misgivings

19 Jan

Team Figure 8 Made a bit of an error and missed this post. Instead of depriving you we decided you should get to read it too.

Noon Position: 51.53S 56.36W

Course/Speed: NE3

Wind: W7

Sail: Big genoa out full

Bar: 1006

Sea: W3

Sky: Clear

Cabin Temp: 56

Water Temp: 47

Miles last 24-hours: 149 (previous 24-hours: 159)

Miles since departure: 8144

The south is dealing gently with me these first few days as if it can sense my ambivalence.

Wind on port quarter has been 15 to 30, and I’ve run with the working jib only, making way to ...

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A Visitor

18 Jan

Day 66

Noon Position: 49 27S 49 11W

Course/Speed: NNE3

Wind: S7

Sail: Both headsails poled out full, flopping around

Bar: 1002, steady

Sea: Small rollers from the N and SW

Sky: Clear

Cabin Temp: 60

Water Temp: 48

Miles last 24-hours: 92

Miles since departure: 8501

Some birds are more curious than others. The Wandering Albatross, for example, can’t be bothered. It approches until it recognizes that odd object on the horizon that is not a wave and is not a fish. “Oh, a boat; never mind.” And then it glides away with as much effortlessness as it used ...

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Blue Blob

18 Jan

Day 65

Noon Position: 49 47S 50 44W

Course/Speed: NE5

Wind: NW13

Sail: Big Genoa out full

Bar: 1003

Sea: W6

Sky: Clear

Cabin Temp: 60

Water Temp: 46

Miles last 24-hours: 161

Miles since departure: 8409

I call them Blue Blobs, the windless regions one has to contend with in sailing from here to there. Granted, on my weather app, they are more purple at their worst, but Blue Blob has stuck.

I saw this one coming and had a plan. I’d sail up to 50S on my now usual course NE, and then I’d pole out the headsails ...

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Change

16 Jan

Day 64

Noon Position: 51 06S 54 39W

Course/Speed: NE4

Wind: NW7

Sail: All plain sail, close hauled

Bar: 1003

Sea: W3

Sky: CLR

Cabin Temp: 67

Water Temp: 49

Miles last 24-hours: 104

Miles since departure: 8248

It’s been a day of change.

I woke to find Mo making slow way to the SW, the opposite of the course we had been following a mere two hours earlier. Winds had been light all night, and the main slatted now and then in the calms, but somehow the boat had managed to follow this transition, a perfect 180 degrees, without ...

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A False Start and a Real Start

15 Jan

Day 62 (days at sea, not counting days in Ushuaia)

Noon POS: 53 23S 59 46W, under the Falklands

Course and Speed: NE7

Wind: W25

BAR: 996

Sea: W6

Sky: Clear

Temp: cabin, 56; Water, 47

A blog for Jan 11 and 12…

At the office of the Prefectura (Coast Guard), the captain waggled his finger when I showed him my exit papers, completed and signed in advance so as to expedite the process. I was breathless from the three flights of stairs and clearly in a hurry, and there is nothing bureaucracy hates more than hurry.

“The man for ...

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Mo is Away

14 Jan

Day 61

Noon Position: 55 58S 62 52W (roughly 200 miles E of Ushuaia)

Course Speed: NE 8+

Wind: WNW 20 – 25

Bar: 992

Sea: W4

Sky: Overcast

Temp: 53, cabin; 43 water

Mo and Randall have made their escape from Ushuaia, Argentina, and are now thoroughly at sea. In the late morning, the last sight of land, sharp ink spots on a horizon layered in gray, the sinking of Isla de Los Estados.

After entering the South Atlantic via Canal Beagle in the afternoon of yesterday, I ran all night due east on a west wind so as ...

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“As Nelson said…”

10 Jan

“…ships and men rot in port,” wrote Tony Gooch last week. And then, “I hope you have rested well and are recuperated. But do recall, you have an appointment with Cape Horn three months hence.”

A brief note bordering on terse but well-timed and written from the experience of one who’s made, and forced himself to leave, many a beautiful foreign port. For nothing is easier to adapt to than comfort nor easier to forget than future trials, even if they are of one’s own choosing.

From her berth in Ushuaia, Mo’s interior is dry and warm and mostly motionless. ...

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