06/11/2010, Off Outer Banks
Measure your success by what you've given up to achieve it. Work hard, sacrifice, it pays off - that's my perception. But there's another way to look at it. Let me see what we've achieved: Sailing in 20+ knots at near beam reach. Motoring over water like glass revealing starfish the size of my hand. Glimpsing a whale fin tapping the ocean surface.
Dodging lightning, chasing boat speed, talking economics, weather, racing, mathematics, politics, women and the virtue of red mornings. Avoiding Her Majesty's Navy,trying to raise the nuclear sub off starboard on the radio and a couple of hours in dead calm repairing an engine that swallowed a small jellyfish. Oh, and convincing Allen to keep whatever coldcuts he has up his ass left in place.
We've caught a couple of dolphin, much of what we ate directly - cooked in a bag with spices and lime juice - and some we've saved for those waiting for us onshore. We've seen the Milky way cloudy across a clear night, anchored by Saturn at sunset and a rising quarter moon just before sunrise.
And the sacrifice? Work. Some responsibilities. Phone calls. Emails. And, time with my family. Save for the last one, summing it up makes the success even that much sweeter.
So, now, less than 24 hours from the landfall, thinking about the hot shower and glass of rum calling my name, I measure my success in the name of Unabated - Nassau to Norfolk, with some new friends, frozen dolphin steaks, and warm chocolate brownies in the boat oven and think, a pretty damn good success.
06/11/2010, 25 miles off Cape Hatteras
It has been long trip, but we are in the rhythm now. We have caught three Dorado (Update: final score was 4) and eaten one, we are starting on eating the second now. We have also landed 4 or five Barracuda and hooked but failed to land two unknown. Troy is a good cook, and is seasoning a few pieces of fillet as I type. He is going to cook brownies next.
When we first left the Bahamas (Sunday night), there was a LOT of lightning and thunderstorm activity. It had me pretty un-nerved, as I have no experience with it and I don't want any. It was good for me to have two sailors on board that have been in the middle of a lot of thunderstorms. At one point I was sailing right toward an anvil shaped thunder head with lots of straight vertical strikes under it. I had permission from Capt. Alan to "run away", which I bravely did. All of us came up on deck, and decided to do one big circle for about an hour, first running away, then running to avoid its path. You may have seen this on the track from our transponders. It worked, and we were able to motor between two of the more spectacular thunderheads. The rain was so heavy it looked like land masses on the radar.
Today the skies are clear and sunny, wind is light and from our destination, but should clock around in a few hours, making progress easier. We are sailing at a reasonable but slow pace, and we are listening to Madeline Perioux (sp), singing that "its all right".
It is nice that Alan has a watermaker. This allows us sponge baths and washing hair without being overly concerned about rationing.
The crew is recovering from some fairly active seas last night, which combined with sails slatting from dead downwind sailing and a cross-track swell made sleeping very difficult. I was well rested and was able to let Troy sleep a little extra, repaying a courtesy he extended me earlier.
Captain Alan seems to be feeling frisky; he just now asked me if I swing. The good news is that he and Becky are taking swing dancing lessons and he was practicing in the cockpit. The sail has not been THAT long. We have not spent too much time and mental effort on infantile double entendre, but we were apt to interpret Alan's comments differently since he announced "that he had lunchmeat coming out of his butt". Both Troy and I selected other options from the menu.
It looks like we will arrive sometime tomorrow morning to mid-day depending on how much we run the motor, and how soon the wind clocks.
06/11/2010, 25 miles off Cape Hatteras
For months now I have been professing the need for spares. Not only for your primary devices but also for your backup devices as well. Not only do you need a Plan A for your primary device but you need a Plan A for your backup devices also. When your primary device fails, breaks, gets lost, falls overboard or you just plain forget how to use it, You need a plan to fix, repair, find,retrieve or read instructions for that device. The same holds true for your backup device because that now becomes your primary device. So now you need to be able to recover from the loss of use of that device as well. Get it?? So after 9 months and close to 5000 miles, I have found out where my failings are (and trust me there are many). The one that sticks out this morning is the failure of the can opener. I can't even begin to tell you how fustrating it is to be offshore in 20+ knots of wind, seas running to 10 + feet and you can hardly stand in one spot, to not be able to open a #*&^%G can of beans. So let that be a lesson to all who go out to sea....... Must be something in the tool box I can use.......... a