Randall Reeves

A Three-Reef Kind of Day

3 Mar

March 1 , 2019/Day 148

Noon Position: 46 49S  134 51W

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

Wind(t/tws): NxW 20

Miles since departure: 20,349

Avg. Miles/Day: 138

 

Rhumb line course to Cape Horn, 2,574 nm. About the distance from San Francisco to Hawaii, a route I’ve run several times. Such a comparison makes the Horn seem close. But those “to Hawaii” miles and our “to the Horn” miles are very different: the Horn is still quite far off and the intervening weather and requisite southing, a big challenge.

But it’s March, MARCH! I remember distinctly doing the around-the-bottom math just after Mo’s ...

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Day Ninety in the Roaring Forties

2 Mar

February 28, 2019/Day 147

Noon Position: 46 44S  138 22W

Course(t)/Speed(kts): Up/Down and Sideways…

Wind(t/tws): SW to NW 9

Miles since departure: 20,205

Avg. Miles/Day: 137

 

Day ninety in the Roaring Forties demonstrates that the forties do not roar every day.

Overnight we were becalmed. When the WHAP WHAP of the main is continual and invading one’s dream, then it’s time to put the dear out of her misery. I lowered sail at 3am. We drifted until dawn.

The variability of wind direction this morning has been stunning. I set the poles early, when the wind suggested it ...

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Night Maneuvers

27 Feb

February 25, 2019/Day 144

Noon Position: 46 36S 147 00W

Course(t)/Speed(kts): E 5

Wind(t/tws): WNW 18

Miles since departure: 19,845

Avg. Miles/Day: 138

Monte: (at the helm, yelling over the roar of wind in the rigging) Senior, what good is this, your forecast, if it will not foretell the weather?

Randall: (at the mast struggling to douse the main. It’s raining hard, too.) I dunno, Monte. Kinda busy at moment. Can you ease her into the wind a bit?

Monte: In my day, we look over the rail, and if the wind is blowing up a gale, we call it ...

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Cabin Fever

26 Feb

February 24, 2019/Day 143

Noon Position: 46 05S  150 50W

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

Miles since departure: 19,687

Avg. Miles/Day: 138

 

We’re riding the edge. Typically by the time winds hit 30 knots, I’ve dropped even a triple reefed main. But I don’t think 30 will last long, and I want to push us. The faster we go, the longer we stay in this wind and the further ahead of the NEXT low we get.

But it’s bloody uncomfortable. The sea is running bouldery, steep and smack on the beam. Mo is healed way over, and she heaves in a ...

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An Approaching Low

25 Feb

February 23, 2019/Day 142

Noon Position: 46 11S  154 47W

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

Wind(t/tws): NW 19 – 24

Miles since departure: 19,522

Avg. Miles/Day: 137

 

I’ll admit I’m not fond of days like this. Mo is fast again, but on her ear and shoveling water as if it were free. One is fully kitted on deck or he begs to get dunked. The sky is a pasty, impenetrable gray; the water, slate, and filling the gap between these is but a dim, cold light.

We are running, not for the fun of it, not for the joy alone of ...

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A Day in the Tropics

24 Feb

February 22, 2019/Day 141

Noon Position: 46 25S  158 30W

Course(t)/Speed(kts): NExE 5

Miles since departure: 19,368

Avg. Miles/Day: 137

 

Winds went light overnight, and we were back to the slatting sails game by dawn. I poled out the working jib before coffee; we went wing and wing for a time. That helped.

Sunup came bright on cobalt blue water and the ocean opened like a flower. The warm breeze carried a scent of spice into the cabin. The cloudless sky seemed a vast, pale, edgeless desert hung above the softly undulating desert below it. From Mo’s still decks, ...

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Making Use of a Day Becalmed

23 Feb

February 21, 2019/Day 140

Noon Position: 47 13S  161 15W

Course(t)/Speed(kts): E 3

Wind(t/tws): NWxN 6 – 7

Miles since departure: 19,245

Avg. Miles/Day: 137

Wind slowly withdrew in the night. It was enough to sail on when the moon came up full, yellow at first and then milk white, but by early morning, I could hear the main’s rhythmic slatting on the minimal sea, a sure sign. On deck, not a breath. I dropped the complainer and rolled in the forbearing but equally useless genoa at 4am and slept in utter stillness until sunrise.

Becalmed. There is something delicious ...

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Fast Winds, Big Sea

20 Feb

February 187, 2019/Day 136

Noon Position: 47 16S  173 45W

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

Miles since departure: 18,734

Avg. Miles/Day: 138

 

Brisk winds with squalls continue. Nights have been kind; wind and seas have been steady, allowing good sleep. But the days are a wild card of open sky followed by squalls, then open sky again. The open sky episodes blow hard. The squalls blow hard, but wind is quite variable. Thus, I’ve had to reef the twin headsails way in for the sake of energy conservation. It’s either that or sit on deck with a winch handle in my ...

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Do Over

19 Feb

February 16 (again), 2019/Day 135 (again)

Noon Position: 47 07S  177 42 *WEST*

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

Miles since departure: 18,572

Avg. Miles/Day: 138

 

Last night before midnight, Mo crossed the 180th meridian and passed from east longitude back into west longitude. More interestingly, from a balance sheet perspective, we crossed the International Date Line, which makes today February 16, again.

What is the International Date Line? It’s the day I get to take my miles back!

I keep Mo on zone time at sea, the same kind of time we live by on land. There are 24 one-hour zones ...

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Failures and Fixes

18 Feb

February 16, 2019/Day 135

Noon Position: 47 15S  178 34E

Course(t)/Speed(kts): E 6+

Miles since departure: 18,420

Avg. Miles/Day: 136

 

A slow night has given way to a fast day. Rain in the morning. Then squalls till mid afternoon. Then puffy cumulus as the wind hardened into the middle 30s from the WSW. This surprised me, that the low would come with cumulus and not the solid deck and rain one expects. But as I type, the sky astern has grown dark and heavy. Now comes the low.

We are entering that part of the voyage where gear ...

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