Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Noon Position 33 03'S, 104 24.7' W, SOG 3.5, COG 155, Day's run 70nm.
The Last 24 hours have seen almost a 90 degree wind shift. Yesterday at
noon found me sailing due east at 5 kts on starboard tack, today at noon
finds me sailing South east on Port. This affords me the chance to
drive south, which I'm taking full advantage of - I'm hoping that if I
can get down to 35 or 36 S I'll have a bit more consistent wind, and
hopefully more westerlies, although I certainly wouldn't complain if
this wind continues to back and I can get back to sailing East. For the
week ending yesterday my run was 562 miles sailed - certainly the
slowest so far. I'm just hoping I can do better than that for the next
two weeks heading to Chile. Now that I'm back on Port tack, I've
rediscovered some of the wonderful noises that Odyssey makes. Depending
on how fast we're going, the sea makes a whole variety of noises against
the hull - from a whisper smooth glide in light air to a dull, rushing
roar when we catch a wave just right and surge down its face. Upwind,
of course, add in the the assortment slaps, swooshes, crashes, and thuds
of waves hitting the bow, rolling over the deck, and generally making a
nuisance of themselves. When the bow drops off a particularly large
wave the whole boat shudders with a dull bang like the slam of a giant
screen door. When we're rolling, the spare blocks hanging above the
port bunk occasionally chime in with a tink or clink as they swing into
the cabinetry. In light winds like today, there is a whole cacophony of
noises from the sails slatting when a particularly large swell knocks
the wind out of them, a high pitched rattle from the slides in the mast
track on the main, a lower creaking groan from the sheets. On port
tack, like I am now, the bulkhead aft of the galley seems determined to
simulate a small balkan land war, constantly creaking and popping like a
thousand tiny machine guns. Not to be outdone, of course, on starboard
tack the shelves above the port bunk fire back, with a slower, more
measured pace. Every day or two the stove decides that the gallons upon
gallons of WD-40, T-9, Silicone Spray, Teflon Grease, Lithium Grease,
and Teflon spray that I've saturated its forward gimbal with need some
more company, and begins an ominous creaking groan, timed perfectly to
the roll of the boat. When I sleep my head is separated from this awful
moan by no more than 1/2" of plywood on which the stove is mounted.
Invariably the stove decides to start it's complaining somewhere between
the hours of 2 and 3 am, so I end up lying awake, cursing the world,
hoping against hope that it will go bother someone else, or at the very
least postpone the complaining until a more civilized hour. After
burying my head under my pillow for veritable ages, rolling over,
straining my arm to try to jiggle the stove without having to get out of
bed, I must invariably bow to the inevitable, and pry myself out of
blankets, over the leecloth, across the boat to chart table, tangling my
foot in a foul weather jacket that manages to migrate to the middle of
the floor in the middle of the night. Upon opening the front of the
chart table I am, of course, assailed by an assortment of lubricants,
all so eager to help me quiet the stove that they leap from their shelf
and hide themselves about the cabin. I grab a spray can at random,
point it in the general direction of the stove, and let it rip.
There! It stopped creaking! So i gather up the errant inhabitants of
the chart table, jam them back into their prison, and return to bed.
Generally it takes 2 or 3 late night excursions to finally defeat the
stove's grumblings for a day or two. Oh, the simple joys of sailing!


  1. Sounds as if you have quite the "symphony" going on. I believe the Blue Man Group would be envious of all the percussion Odyssey and nature are providing. Here's hoping Chile continues to get closer every day! Stay safe.

  2. ...what if you sprayed before you went to bed? :-) Of course then you wouldn't have, as Kyle states, the "symphony." Perhaps when you return you'll put the "notes" on paper and we'll all enjoy them! Best wishes and stay safe Eric. Love your writings.

  3. Thanks everyone for the great comments. I read them to Eric when he calls home at the designated weekly time to officially check-in. Eric really appreciates hearing from you. Your comments are excellent morale boosters.