06/08/2009, 36 45'N:11 45'W, 1 1/2 days to Gibraltar
In March of 2004 I did my first delivery. I thought I was crossing an ocean. Turns out I was merely sailing from Nassau Bahamas to Miami. 220 or so miles traveled in 30 or so knots of breeze. I remember getting violently seasick about an hour in and for the entire 24 hours being green as hell. That delivery felt like an eternity. But I began racking up some epic stories about ocean sailing, and I set a speed record on the boat I was on… I think it still stands today.
Later that year I thought it would be a good idea to do a proper delivery. So I signed on as crew to deliver a 43 catamaran from Cape Town South Africa to the British Virgin Islands. 35 days at sea and Just under 7000 miles. I got to see Napoleon’s tomb on St Helena, I had my first real dolphin experience at sea, was seasick for 20 of the 35 days, and went 21 days without seeing land. I had the opportunity to do lots of writing on that trip. I wrote the entire trip in 4 line rhyme (15 pages worth) and wrote a whole bunch of other abstract poetry and such. All told by the time I was done I had been away for almost 2 months and traveled some 20,000 miles roundtrip. It was quite an experience.
Since then I have traveled the east coast of US spent some time in the ICW, Long Island Sound, The Hudson River, and loads of time in the Caribbean. Very soon I will complete my first delivery as captain which will have included almost 4000 miles, 8 crew members on board and a couple shore based helpers.
In my times at sea I have been fortunate to be aware. In every case I come away from my travels with a renewed vigor for being at home. Every trip away reinforces the fact that I am not a lifelong ocean-goer or nomad. I believe I first sought sailing as an escape from a place where I was not myself. It is a peaceful awareness to find answers to questions I did not even know to ask, while sailing but not in sailing. I will continue to soak up every moment while I am here and when I am done I will return home happy and content that I found perspective. I will always sail and I will always relish the moments it provides to be introspective and will be grateful for those who have shared the journey with me.
No trivia today, but rather send an email firstname.lastname@example.org with your favorite joke, short story, funny story, or personal empowerment tale so we can hear what moves you? We will read them over the next couple days and the crew’s favorite submission get’s a One Two Many tee shirt…
PS - Hello shout out to Peter, providing us land based support (many thanks), and my second cousin Chloe who i think might be our youngest reader and a U2 fan!
06/07/2009, 37 06'N:15 53'W, 2 1/2 days to Gibraltar
Well we are motor-sailing still and looking for a quick stop over before we enter the Straits of Gibraltar as we do not have enough fuel to make it all the way to Palma given the forecasted light winds and anticipated head winds once we get through the Straits. I will spare you the nauseating machinations and calculations that leaves us with the engine on heading straight for our destination rather than reaching back and forth looking for wind, but we are getting lots of reading and writing done on this, the more mellow, consistent, and conservative approach. (no that is not a typo – I actually chose the more conservative straight line approach!)
We did have a bit of excitement today to report! The water maker failed. While it would run it was not putting water into the tanks. We could hear the various pumps and filters whirring away but no water… hmmm. First I noticed that the LED’s on the front panel of the unit were not lighting up, so this is where we started the troubleshooting. When I got a little closer to the unit getting ready to take it apart I smelled that familiar burnt electric smell – crap! So I pulled the cover off the unit and began my examination (scalpel, said in a Jim Carey voice). I found a diode on one of the electrical panels that was totally fried! This particular diode has something to do with the salinity sensor that opens the 3 way valve that let’s our product water go into the tanks. With this diode blown the signal was never reaching the valve to switch from overboard to tank mode. We pulled out the wiring schematic and the three engineers onboard (Todd, Ernie and Myself) review ed and came to agreement that since everything was still running and we had voltage on the inbound side of the valve switch, we were most likely making water but it was just being pumped over board rather than into the tanks. So with a final review of the diagram we hardwired the switching valve open (directly to tank mode) by simply putting the two wires together and eliminating the switch. We held our breath and powered up! With all valves closed to our house water tanks we took water samples from the overflow – bingo – desalinated water. As it turns out the culprit was a chaffed wire to the Stop switch for the desalinator. The two tiny wires ran against the fiberglass circuit board right next to this diode. Over the past 5 years of use the two wires had worn through their jackets and shorted, cooking the nearest available electrical device… the diode. Lot’s of black soot inside the cover but we are back in business!
As I have always said - captaining is 75% electrician, 20% plumber and the other 50% is sailing and people! You are spared my philosophical ramblings for another day since I can report on the water maker, so until tomorrow….
Today’s trivia: What is the medical term for the small bump on the back of your skull?
06/06/2009, 37 25'N:20 08'W, 3 1/2 days to Gibraltar
Not much to report from the high seas today. We are watching a low approaching well to our north that continues to track toward the Bay of Biscay and should not throw any adverse weather our way, but we watch it anyway in case it decides to come south at all.
It has been a day of playing the genoa in and out and adjusting the motor RPM’s up and down just trying to keep us at our target 8 knots of boatspeed while using the least amount of fuel possible.
The big news of the day is that I was able to confirm that chewing crunchy items such as Nutter Butter mini bites while wearing noise canceling headphones, does in fact, make the crunching sound considerably louder in your head (just in case you were curious).
I think we are due for a good philosophical meandering so tomorrow could be the day… stay tuned.
Today’s Trivia: The term ‘tip’ as it refers to a service related gratuity was originally an acronym for what three words?