Saturday, May 21, 2011

9 miles from Yesterday

There were no dramas overnight, other than reducing sail at about 2.30. This takes a long time to do because first of all when I wake up, lyng there in the dark listening to all the sounds of a sailing yacht - creaking ropes, gurgling and splashing of the sea, , the whining of the Air Breeze generator, occasional bang of a wave on the hull - I have to decide if anything feels different, or wrong, and if I should get out of my bunk. Which I don't want to do - so I lie there debating with myself, listening, thinking knowing I will never get back to sleep, getting anxious abiout what I might have to do, what might go wrong, wishing it would all settle down, round and round in my miond it all goes. I am warm in bed - who ever wants to get out from that place at 2.30am?. So I get up - and to get up you lever yourself up and prop yourself against a bulk head gripping all the while with one hand and looking with the other for the light, or another handhold, then your overtrousers, your harness, your jacket, your gloves…and then with a sigh after sliding the hatch back from the companionway and reaching out to clip yourself to the nearest safe point, you heave yourself up and out onto the blackness of the cockpit. But last night it wasn't all black - there was an almost full moon and no clouds so I gazed along a silver highway of moonlight across the sea to the west in a sea of matt black waves , waves not as big, not anywhere near as big as I had been imagining. I sat and watched the water, the wind speed, the boat speed, the sails and the clouds and then deciding to go with the teaching from Sailing School, that if you are thinking about reefing you should have done it ten minutes ago , I reached across and clipped myself to the jack stay, a safety line running the length of the boat. I would do it. So after tightening the topping lift and letting out the main halyard till it reached the mark I had inked on it signifying the first reef, I went forward on hands and knees , was delighted to see the reefing cringle right where it should be, beside a stout hook on the mast and I slipped it over. Back in the cockpit I cranked the sail tight, cranked the reefing line tight - and the knots are NOT coming undone this time, - and then it was all good. Later I realized it was all a waste of time because the wind didn't increase as I feared it was going to, but then, I slept better. So it was worth it.

Today a steady breeze, not much more than 15 or 16 knots, it went east for a while and I tacked back to see where that would get me but decided to go back to my original course once I had gained a little progress further east. This meant that I would not hit Esperance Rock later tonight, a southern member of the Kermadec group of islands , Good to miss things like rocks! But instead I will be crossing the Kermadec sea ridge, on the other side of which is the Kermadec Trench, deeper in parts than Mt Everest - so had better not drop anything overboard, it would be hard to get back from there. The undersea terrain round here is extraordinary - I'm crossing the Ridge just south of the Star of Bengal Bank, a place where the ocean rises to as little as 50metres and probably best avoided but in the benign conditions currently prevailing I imagine it will be a non event round midnight. Right now we are pointing almost directly at Tubuai, but its still 1703nm away.

I crossed something else today, at about 3 this afternoon, the International Dateline so I am back in Friday now and once again, its my Birthday tomorrow!

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