FIRST BIG CROSSING: Day 9

24 hours run- 124 Nm.

Wow. Really tired now.
We weren't expecting a picnic or anything ...but this overcast skies, rolling around in steep irregular seas with a wind that comes and goes makes it hard to have any of that sun-tanning, French learning, Pizza-making thing I was hoping to get in the trades. We've done lumpy and bumpy before but this particular version-BIGGER- has set a  new standard for us.

The worst part isn't our lot, we're tough enough cookies to put up with quite a bit, but it's the concern for our old girl that makes for the sleeplessness-even if sleep only comes in a half hour snatch every three to six hours.

Every night, for the past few moonless, starless, mostly windless affairs, we spend our watches hanging on and leaning out of the cockpit to shine a flashlight up into the rigging and make sure all is cool:
"Shrouds tight?" check.
"Turnbuckles good?" Check.
"Chain plates still imbedded in deck?" Check. Praise Jesus.

But last night as I cast my light across our big headsail I saw something squiggly about the foot.
We are running wing on wing, and the big Genoa is poled way out to the side, so I couldn't really get a good bead on what it was.

Given the seas were a black and rolling cauldron of merciless doom, I forgo the journey to the foredeck on the life-lines. The sun would rise in an hour and I could have a look then.

An hour later I saw the problem. All the slogging around had caused our stitching to unravel at the foot of the sail. Hmmmm. This is not an epic disaster but we are a LONG way from done here. Three more weeks of headsail un-stitchery is not something we want.

Jon got up, had coffee and checked in on the SSB Net--the propagation was terrible due to the weather around us--so we didn't get to have our morning pep-talk with Manta-bummer. Jon looked tired. Neither of us had gotten any sleep the past few days. He had already sorted (I never use the F-word on board, "FIXED", in case it might jinx us) but he had administered to a number of things, that were vital to our survival and it looked like there were going to be new things to add to the list for today.
I pointed out the sail.
"Crap"
..was Captains summation of the new one.

We tried to head up and take the sail down--its a self-furling one so its attached to the headstay--but the waves were huge and the wind was gusting to 20 and it was hard to keep the boat in the wind. We abandoned that idea after Jon got flogged by the jib sheets a few times in the face. The fastest to accomplish (but hardest physical plan) was to put a few blocking stitches in the seam while the sail was still up-which meant Jon climbing out onto the bowsprit and balancing on the top of the rails, with one arm wrapped around the forestay and a sail palm and needle in the other. Unable to do anything useful to help him, I stayed in the cockpit, adjusted the sheets as he needed, and yelled 'Hang on Honey" and " Big wave!" every five minutes.

Jon got it "sorted" and I made everybody a seaman's breakfast of pork chops and mashed potatoes and beans and more coffee and we looked out at the darkening sky around us. "Whose idea was this, anyway?" Jon asked, smiling at me.

Everyone pitched in and straightened up the boat. We duct-taped the computer to the table (to keep it from flying out the hatch) and everyone climbed in the big sea-berth we call "the nest", turned on the HOBBIT and took turns climbing up on deck to look around every 20 minutes.

It's not all bad.
And snuggling is one of the perks of sailing rough seas with a family--they make excellent padding.

Kai's Tips:
The BEST path to sustainable fisheries world-wide is to phase out large scale industrial fisheries in favor of artsenal fisheries.
This also makes more money go directly to fisherman and their families.
Artesnal fisherman are like the panga fisherman we saw in the Sea of Cortes.
They work together, using a multitude of fisherman who combine their catch for sale, they work mainly inshore, using small craft and relatively passive gear- not like long lining or seine nets that kill more than they catch- they also use outboards which mens they use relatively little fuel per unit of fish landed.
My mom told me the first part of this fact and it is a direct quote from, Daniel Pauly, director of UBC fisheries Center and project leader of "the Sea Around Us."

Hunter's hints:
Support groups that protect the oceans!
Check out:
OCEANWISE- A website that tells you what fish are okay to eat and what is endangered.


Captains corner:
In answer to Spencer's question (hey Buddy)... The duct tape usage has dwindled to virtually nil (except for keeping the laptop on the table). The reason being that we have a fresh supply purchased in Mexico and as it turns out it sticks to nothing but itself! Even with the sail sewing fiasco today (Suki is sweet, but I must have looked like the world's lamest pale gorilla swinging around up there trying to stitch fabric the consistency of shoe leather with one hand and a giant needle). Halfway through i thought... Duct Tape!!! Maybe that will do it and  I can stop perforating myself. Nope. 25 minutes of careful, meticulous taping and all it took was three thunderclap, wave induced, flogging/slatting bang, and the duct tape patch was gone. Ahhh well, back to the gorilla routine. So far, so good. Sorted.

2 comments:

  1. Wow. We're white-knuckling it along with you in mind and spirit. I'm sure you know now that in all those sailing movies no one has ever 'acted' trying to stitch the sail while hanging on to the bowsprit in a high rolling swell correctly. But you will soon know what it REALLY feels like when someone cries, 'Land, ho!' We love you.

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  2. the greybeard loonApril 12, 2013 at 7:28 AM

    We listened and looked sideways up!
    Fear at my heart, as at a cup,
    My life-blood seemed to sip!
    The stars were dim, and thick the night,
    The steersman's face by his lamp gleamed white;
    From the sails the dew did drip—
    Till clomb above the eastern bar
    The hornèd Moon, with one bright star
    Within the nether tip.

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