Sunday, May 13, 2012


Noon Position: 46 45' S, 178 06' E, SOG 4.5, COG 105, Day's Run 129nm.
I don't mind getting up in the middle of the night to take care of the
boat - check conditions, trim sails, reef if necessary. There's the
promise of my still warm (and dry-ish) sleeping bag to snuggle back into
after business has been taken care of. Getting out of bed in the
morning, however, is a different story. Waking up for the day has no
cozy promise of returning to a warm cocoon, and to make matters worse,
by the time the sun is rising my body heat has normally fully dried out
my clothing and my sleeping bag, further de-incentivizing a departure
from the nest. Then, of course, the weather sometimes takes a hand.
This morning I awoke just before sunrise and lay in the warm, dry
confines of my bunk feeling the motion of the boat through the waves,
listening to the sails and the wind. "Alright," I decided, "We're a
little overpowered - I'll go put in a reef before making myself hot tea
and oatmeal, then climb back under my blanket to eat it." Thus
reassured with the promise of both warm toes and warm innards, I
proceeded on my morning routine - pulling fleece on over my long
underwear, pulling on my foul weather pants over everything, then boots,
then harness. I stuck my arm out the hatch and adjusted the windvane to
turn downwind, both to depower to make the reefing easier and to make
the boat drier while I was working on deck, undid the latches on the top
washboard, slid it out and put it on the floor, then climbed into the
cockpit. After making my way forward and taking a single reef in the
main, I returned to the cockpit to sheet in and head up close hauled
again, and judge the effect on boatspeed. A packet of spray came over
the bow and got me in the face. Discovering the boat was again
overpowered, I bore off, went forward, double reefed the main, returned
to the cockpit to sheet in, head up, and assess. Another packet of
spray came aboard, soaking my right arm from the elbow down. (Clever
man that I am, I had neglected to wear my jacket). "Hmmm...., still
overpowered." The wind was increasing, keeping just ahead of my pace at
reefing. So I pointed the bow south once more and went forward, taking
the third and final reef in the main, reducing it to less than half of
its original size. Back to the cockpit, trim, head up, and, of course,
another wave, this time to the face again.
Finally the boat seemed to be settled in, so I headed below,
replaced the top wash board, latched it in place, took off my harness,
towelled off my face and sweater, pulled my foul weather pants down to
my ankles to keep my bunk dry, made a cup of tea, and put the oatmeal
on the stove. Just as I was sitting down on my bunk to the oatmeal, I
realized the wind had increased again - Odyssey was lurching and
launching off the waves, putting her leeward rail underwater, luffing
the jib aggressively every few waves when one threw us too far off course.
So: The oatmeal went back on the stove to keep it from spilling,
the foul weather pants pulled up, the harness back on, the washboard
unlatched and put on the floor, and as I stuck my head out to adjust the
windvane to bear off again, a sheet of solid water came over the top of
the boat, catching me full in the back of the head and running down my
neck. Wonderful. I climbed out on deck, slowly dripping, took four
rolls in the jib, sheeted it tight again, climbed back below to get some
shelter from the spray before carefully extending an arm to the windvane
line to bring the boat back on course. I put the washboard back in,
latched it in place, took off my harness, took off my foul weather
pants, sat back down in bed and ate my oatmeal and drank my tea.
Unfortunately, unlike revenge, Oatmeal is not a dish best served cold.
Tomorrow morning I'm not getting out of bed :)


  1. If you give a mouse a cookie....if you get out of your sleeping bag in the morning....

  2. Eric, I look forward daily to your writing -- miss it when you're
    "not there." Katie's correct -- life always circles around. Thanks for
    keeping us posted (though I suspect catharsis is behind some of this?).