Perhaps I Should Take a Pill?
21 March 2016 | Marsh Harbour, Bahamas
People ask me what it's like to sail offshore at night. I don't know about other sailors but here it is for me.
"Nightwatch offshore in Atlantic. Quarter moon bright overhead. Tammy below. I hope she is able to sleep. I doubt it. Seas big and sloppy, and Aria is hobby horsing on this deepening broad reach. I have a lot of worries, as usual. Biggest here is an accidental gybe. Preventer is on but still, in these seas, mainsail is really a liability. I ponder bringing it down and run the steps in my mind. In the dark. Alone. A lot of steps, actually. Better perhaps to center the main. Less to go wrong.
Lightening flashes to the west. Definitely getting closer. More to worry about. Wind keeps going aft. I am not even sure we are on the most favorable tack anymore . Heading is Greenland! Man, it is really rolly. What if i got sick? Could Tammy bring in the boat? Perhaps I should take a pill.
Tammy comes on watch at 2200. Can Tammy pilot Aria in these quartering seas? I need to devise a plan for her watch. OK, keep wind at 120 degrees apparent. Autopilot only. Forget about the mainsail. One instrument to watch - anemometer. But what if the wind dies? Wake me. What if the storm hits? Wake me. What if the wind continues to clock and our heading goes toward The Azores? Wake me. Not so simple after all.
Three freighters astern on AIS moving 14+kts. Busy shipping lane. Glad we passed through that before dark. I hailed three ships to alter course. At least they are not cruise ships. Those move at 20+ kts. I hate cruise ships.
Ach, it's driving me crazy to sit here with the wrong rig up. I want Genoa only, poled out. It would be perfect. No possibility of a gybe, and I could steer back to course. But, really, do i dare go forward to set the whisker pole in these seas, alone, at night? Good, bright moon. That helps. Perhaps. In my mind, I run the steps. Am i nuts? Way too many things could go wrong. And for what? Another knot of VMG? We will probably arrive at the inlet before dawn as it is and have to stand off for decent light. How should I stand off, anyway? Heave to, I guess. Main only, like usual, or should I use a little jib, just to keep the bow from coming over in these big seas? Oh, hell! I'll decide when we get there.
How much longer till Tammy comes on watch? Feeling sleepy. Perhaps I shouldn't have taken that pill.