Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Noon Position: 20 10' S, 134 34' W, COG 075, SOG 2, Day's Run 42nm.
I've sailed through the screaming fifties, the roaring forties,
struggled through the threatening thirties and the tiresome twenties,
almost through at last to the tropical teens and the nudist noughts (so
called because, of course, you wish you were a nudist in the heat). If
I carried both sufficient fuel and the will to use it my passage through
the variables would have been no doubt faster, but not, I think,
better. Certainly it would have been nice to be through quicker, to be
buffeted by fewer cold fronts, and I certainly could have motored
through the night last night instead of rolling back and forth in my
bunk as we bobbed about, totally becalmed, but it would be a different
trip. I will admit, with some chagrin (one of my log entries reads
"Main Engine ON - forgive me") to motoring as much as I could on that
painful slog to Valparaiso, preoccupied as I was with thoughts of
repairs and preserving as much of the southern summer as possible. It
didn't really make much of a difference, the 15 or so hours that I
gained with the engine on were used up lying hove to off the coast,
waiting for dawn to go to shore, and those 15 hours certainly weren't
pleasant, listening and feeling the roar and vibration of the engine.
On every other boat that I've sailed running an engine and/or generator
is a fact of life - from relatively light hour or two a day of charging
of small cruising boats all the way up to the obscene dawn-to-dusk
generator on a big schooner, on top of the grumble of the engine as soon
as the wind got light. I can certainly do it, have in the past and will
in the future, but it's a different kind of life, a different mood, a
different goal, driven by the whims and schedules of the shore, the so
called "real world" where people have planes to catch and cold drinks
and air conditioning. I always loathe the moment that the engine
grumbles to life, casting it's pall of smoke and grease and noise over
the boat, and I expect most sailors do, but just accept it as a
necessity. Despite the frustration of essentially engine-less sailing,
the slow days, the irritation that flares up at silly little things
knocking about in calms, it brings to life a certain beauty, a rhythm
not dominated by the mechanical god of the shore.

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