Randall Reeves

A Gam at Sea, Thwarted

17 Feb

February 15, 2019/Day 134

Noon Position: 47 20S  175 26E

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

Miles since departure: 18,293

Avg. Miles/Day: 137


So slow. We haven’t had a 150-mile day in nearly two weeks. Fastest day in the last eleven, 137 miles, and that one is way ahead of the average. On four days, we’ve made less tha 100 miles. That’s more sub 100-mile days in two weeks than we’ve had since departure. The forecast predicts wind should pick up–a low is approaching, but each new forecast pushes its arrival out another day.

I’m trying to relax into it. Tough. Cape ...

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Valentine’s Day

16 Feb

February 14, 2019/Day 133

Noon Position: 48 05S  172 54E

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

Miles since departure: 18,181

Avg. Miles/Day: 137


No one who knows my wife, Joanna, would call her sentimental. Nor, being British, does she approve the California habit of hugging when clearly a handshake will do. She’s effusive and bubbly and extremely personable; she knows no such thing as having too many friends. But sentimentality is not her gig.

That said, on the occasion of both Figure 8 departures, Joanna has gifted me with deeply touching letters and a small collection of photos. Frankly, it has almost ...

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Mo (Re)Enters to the Pacific

15 Feb

February 13, 2019/Day 132

Noon Position: 47 36S  169 48E

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

Miles since departure: 18,054

Avg. Miles/Day: 137

Sunny and clear when I came on deck at 6am. Wind had slowly veered into the north overnight, but it stayed light until midmorning.

During my pre-breakfast ship inspection, I discovered there had been a drama on deck while I slept. Up near the port chainplates, I found a small clump of feathers and a white, chalky deposit. As I looked toward the stern, there were further deposits in various colors, including black and Krill red, until, at the ...

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Onward to the East

14 Feb

February 12, 2019/Day 131

Noon Position: 47 34S  167 18E

Course(t)/Speed(kts): –

Miles since departure: 17,952

Avg. Miles/Day: 137


I put on the anchor light after dinner and went to bed. On an ever relaxing sea, Mo rolled with the slow grace of a cruise ship. The bunk was still; all around was quiet. Quiet. Such unaccustomed  luxury, quiet.

In the night, our drift went to the west, a safe direction, and never more than a knot. Each time I checked, the answer was the same. Sleep well.

On deck at dawn, I found we’d been overtaken by fog. ...

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Adrift between The Snares and The Traps

13 Feb

February 12, 2019Day 130

Noon Position: 47 52S  167 08E

Course(t)/Speed(kts): —

Miles since departure: 17,941

Avg. Miles/Day: 138

The Snares lie 20 miles to the SW; The Traps, 35 miles to the NE. In between is Mo, adrift.

I doused sail when the wind died in the early morning and went right back to bed. It had been a long night, crossing that northerly stream of wind and rain. But sleep was not to be had. At 5am, the AIS alarm sounded for the first time since Cape Horn. It told that a small expedition cruise ship out ...

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Crossing the Stream

12 Feb

February 10, 2019/Day 129

Noon Position: 47 33S  164 57E

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

Wind(t/tws): NNE 23 – 29

Miles since departure: 17,851

Avg. Miles/Day: 138

Overnight I “hove to” with main only just to slow down. The forecast called for heavy N winds right off New Zealand’s south coast to extend out another day, and I was suddenly way ahead of schedule. In the morning, the time seemed right. I made sail and began to drive Mo through the stream.

From my notes to a friend afterwards…

Well, that was a rough go.

Some of the steepest, maddest seas ...

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Final Approach

9 Feb

February 7, 2019/Day 126

Noon Position: 47 11S  156 47E

Course(t)/Speed(kts): ExS 6

Miles since departure: 17,514

Avg. Miles/Day: 139


We’re are on final approach for passage under New Zealand’s South Island. Distance to a waypoint between Stewart Island and The Snares Islands, 400 miles.

Mo is pounding upwind since the high receded early yesterday. Thus, this final approach is a creepily slow one. And it’s just the beginning of what portends to be a difficult run of days, including both strong winds from not quite the right direction and a number of dynamic wind changes.

Tonight a locally-developed ...

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Chafe Discovery, More Detail

8 Feb

February 6, 2019/Day 125

Noon Position: 46 38S  153 55E

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

Miles since departure: 17,392

Avg. Miles/Day: 139


First off, thank you to Robin Sodaro at HOOD in Sausalito for quick responses to my I-need-repair-ideas email. I came to the table with some bodges that would likely have worked fine, but Robin’s solutions were much cleaner. More on which in a moment.

There are only two crew members who work harder than the skipper. One is Monte, who plies his trade 24/7. The other is the #2 genoa, which is almost always flying. Exceptions are very ...

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Chafe Discovery

7 Feb

February 5, 2019/Day 124

Noon Position: 46 30S  151 33E

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

Miles since departure: 17,294

Avg. Miles/Day: 139

Long day. Was on the foredeck (now don’t recall why) when I noted on the #2 genoa unusual chafe to the webbing that secures the clew ring to the clew of the sail. Closer inspection showed that of the four straps around the ring, the top two had worn through and the bottom one was a third gone.

Spent the remainder of the day switching that sail out for the spare in the anchor locker. The webbing is monstrously strong ...

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An Unexpected Blow

6 Feb

February 4, 2019/Day 123

Noon Position: 46 42S  148 16E

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

Miles since departure: 17,157

Avg. Miles/Day: 139

It’s the kind of day you cancel appointments for. You don’t take calls. You pay attention.

We rode the low’s northwesterly phase overnight; brisk winds to 25. I had the twins poled out with a couple tucks in each and Monte set to keep wind dead aft.

The westerly phase filled in before noon and brought with it waves of squalls to blot out the otherwise blue sky. Winds increased to 25 and 30 with 35 in the squalls common. ...

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