13 May 2010 | Southern Pacific Ocean
Quick update from the tropics: Sailing lazily (slowly) north with Bora Bora dropping out of sight behind me.
Today: Light air chore day. I am producing my own Myth Busters and have established that the romantic myth of the old salt sitting on deck mending sails on long tropical passages is a bunch of hooey. Due to recent bouts of light air sailing the jib has been flogging against the rigging and chafed through long rows of stitching. The wind this morning was too light to sail so I dropped the jib, got out all my sewing stuff and went to work.
First busted myth: It feels a lot like being broken down on the side of the road! The boat pretty much stopped and there I sat stitching away instead of sailing along.
Second busted myth: It is really hard! They use about a billion stitches when they build a sail and that breaks down to about a million stitches per linear foot of sail cloth. To stitch, you carefully line up the holes and push the needle in using a sailmaker's palm, which looks like a strange piece of a medieval armor strapped to one's hand. If you miss the original holes it feels similar to pushing the needle through a couple of pieces of tupperware. As the needle emerges from the other side you grip between gnarled thumb and calloused forefinger and pull, in my case I used a pair of pliers. Next untangle about three yard of thread from bare toes, propane tank, rigging, winch etc. and repeat. For hours.
I did the basic and am now back up and running. (Thank you to Bravado for the sail thread.)