Thirteen days outVicki
2012/07/29, eastern Atlantic
When the weather forecasters predicted light and variable winds they were exaggerating. The winds were below two knots for almost 24 hours. The water surface was an oily slick with slow, undulating swells. The dial on our wind indicator was spinning around, back and forth, as if it too was looking for wind. We motored, and were bored silly. Then today, right in the middle of baking peanut butter cookies, the wind picked up to 12 - 15 knots. We are sailing to windward. Try cooking when your kitchen floor varies in tilt from 10 to 25 degrees. Sure glad I have the oven belt! Today is baked ham, carrots and parsnips with baked potatoes and real butter! What a treat. I was going to make biscuits, but that isn't going to happen. 321 nautical miles to Galway.
Twelve days outVicki
2012/07/28, eastern Atlantic
The good news is we have sunshine. The bad news is during my 7-10 am watch, the winds clocked from 340 degrees to 85 degrees, in about fifteen minutes! Now the wind is right on the nose. It is light enough and waves are small enough that we can motor in the right direction. But that won't last much longer - waves are building. So we will have to sail close-hauled (bumpy ride) and tack back and forth, almost doubling the distance we have to travel. The other bad news, the spinnaker pole attachment at the top came loose and down came the pole. Luckily, it got caught in some lines and did not hit anybody or damage the boat. No more downwind sailing with a spinnaker, but with winds from the east that wouldn't happen anyway! With any luck the wind will shift soon. 440 nautical miles to Galway.
Eleventh day outVicki
Still grey! Please send some of that Minnesota sun and heat my way! The winds are light and variable so we motored overnight to keep the speed up. Daylight and we put out the spinnaker (too dangerous to fly at night) and are moving along comfortably, if slower than we had hoped for. 540 nautical miles to go. Yesterday we had chicken with linguine that had bacon chunks. Too much linguine, so I saved it, added scrambled eggs and had a late night meal for all of us. Today is roast beef and then we are done with fresh meat. Plenty of canned stuff. The canned chicken and canned roast beef from Costco aren't so bad.
Tenth day outVicki
Weather is still gloomy, but warmer than yesterday. Winds are lighter so we are going a little slower. Getting in 120 -140 nautical mile days. Just over 600 nm to go to Galway. Funny thing is, when there isn't a storm, we are safer out here than sailing by shore. Nothing to run into! But I could stand to see land, that will be so exciting. Hope to be to Ireland sometime on Tuesday. Had my first shower so far on this trip. Also first total change of clothing. I can't tell you how great that feels. I couldn't interest the guys in taking a shower - I think we have a stinkier than you competition going on! Things I like on this trip: Besides the wonderful visit with my daughter Tania on the trip to Toronto, I haven't seen friends and family for 3.5 months. I hit a wall yesterday and felt sooo lonely. Which is weird when I am never more than 3 feet from someone else. So I sent out SOS emails and got some wonderful messages back. Thanks to all, I feel more connected.
Ninth day outVicki
Weather is gloomy and greyer than yesterday. But winds are good and we are making good time. We just went by the Hecate Seamount, which sperm whales will do deep dives around for food. Al spotted a sperm whale. coming up for air. quite the excitement. Before dishing out the porkchops yesterday, I had cut-off the bones with some of the meat. Today I am using it as the base for a bean soup. Our refrigerator is small, only about 16 gallons. So buying food for two plus weeks for four people means it was full of basically meat when we left. I bought five dozen eggs, that can go without refrigeration for several days. As we use up the meat, I put eggs in the refrigerator and keep using the ones that are out. Vegetables are either canned or root, that don't need refrigeration. I bought a pound of bacon, but you don't want to be messing around with that hot oil out on the bouncy waves, so I cook it all up while at the dock, wrap it in paper towels and a ziploc and refrigerate it. That way it is ready to use. I also strain the bacon fat and use it in biscuits. yummy. I will add some to the soup to help prevent foaming in the pressure pot. Paul is baking bread right now, the New York Times no-knead recipe. Hot bread and bean soup perfect on a gray day. Things that I like on this trip: life is beginning to feel normal. The first couple of days out were really rough. At one point you just WANT THE MOTION TO STOP, EVEN FOR FIVE MINUTES! But it doesn't, ever. At some point the waves get smaller and your body just adjusts. Everything you do, you time to the motion, without even thinking about it. Gibbs, Al and I all stopped the sea-sickness motion days ago. Paul never has to use any.
Eighth day outVicki
Glory day! Sun has been shining from the get go. I was able to wash a couple of items and hang them up in the cockpit, hopefully they will dry by night. Almost all of my clothes got wet during the storm so I am trying to get clean clothes to wear when we reach Galway. Speaking of Galway, sometime this evening we will be at the half-way point on the great circle route. Double wonderful day! We celebrated with a great meal - pork chops, wild rice with mushrooms, corn and red sweet peppers, and coleslaw. We will celebrate with rum and Fig Newtons at the appropriate moment. We, of course, will make a rum offering to Neptune, thanking him for a good first half of the trip and ask for peaceful passage for the rest of the way. I am continuing to dry out the inside of the boat and doing some cleaning. Oh, and we are flying the bumble-bee spinnaker because we are almost dead downwind with light winds. Things I like about this trip: my captain. I know you will roll your eyeballs and think after all these years, I should know that I like him. But remember, these are extraordinary circumstances. Stressful, pleasant, confining, freeing, all at the same time. And he has three souls on board that are his responsibility. Paul does a good job training and teaching his crew on the finer points of the boat. Everyone contributes ideas and thoughts and he incorporates it in the planning. Planning he is good at. But everyone knows the ultimate authority rests with him. I can't think of anyone I would prefer to have as my captain. (For people not in the cruising world, I should explain that the male is generally the captain with most couples, but the woman is the admiral.)