Key Performance Indicators
13 October 2021 | Hook Island
Jenny Gaskell | Northerlies blowing !!!!!
Walkin the walk and talkin the talk, from what I've seen it is actually a big part of a Boatie's job description. Of course when you come into an island you don't have to go far before you spot a water lover of the same elk, even from a distance. And of course after the usual tee-tar-tate the very next thing I can 💯 guarantee you, is the confirmation of the wind direction 🤣. Oh which ignites the conversation towards how long it will blow etc. PS There are no prizes for getting it right. Even an ol bloke off SV Blind Freddie would know the forecast despite some hearing loss. Many sailors are itching for the same wind to start their return voyage south.
However, a single question was asked by a landlubber that had me thinking. Q:- But how do you know which way to go to get home?
Well, an old seasalt once told me 20 years ago (and no it wasn't Pedro), this sailors nic name was Nine-and-a-Half, but that's another story🖖😆. His instructions as he left me at the helm for my first night watch ever were rather simple. 'Ok just keep Australia on this side and the open sea on that side, and the view of one star constellation in your rigging! You'll be fine' 😬 Righto then, I told myself 'you've got this jg' as he left to go sleep. Yes sleep! I then set out to survive his somewhat simplistic instructions.
Unlike Nine-and-a-Half, He Who Hums does homework and the return trip for us looks like this - he had opened the maps, identified our location, pin pointed our destination and scanned the area between for depths and hazards ie rocks, reef, sandbanks, channel markers and set a course navigating around any such issues. Then it's up to us to watch for any other moving or stationary vessels eg- small fishing boats 🚣🏾♀️ whilst underway. This diligence happens from broad daylight into the night. Aside from all this, you keep an eye on your sails, listen to your motor, watch your navigational equipment and care for people on board. Should all that be honky dory then your plain sailing!
And sometimes (like yesterday) some other very thoughtful sailor will photograph Condesa under full sail, doing what she does best and uploaded it to a Sailing Facebook page, making it look as majestic as it felt scooting down the east coast of Queensland.
What they don't capture is Condesa sneaking into a crowded anchorage, navigating the narrow headland markers at 2.30am due to a change of final destination because of (you got it) the updated wind forecast.
For me it was just as exhilarating to helm her in the pitch black last night as my first ever attempt to night sail. It was as black as the ace of spades outside, apart from the hundreds of anchor lights ahead. I was guided mostly by the single I-pad plotter and messages from He Who is Humming to himself on the forward deck. He was busy looking for a spot to drop anchor.
Inching in as quietly as one can to not disturb the sleeping explorers. He Who is navigator finds the spot and I bring Condesa in carefully and cut the engine.
Silence reins after our 19 hour sail south. Before we bed down the boat and ourselves we look up to the gazillion stars and thank those who's job it is to watch over us. And to those beautiful people who pepper the heavens with their prayers whilst we are navigating life out here. 🙏🏻 🥰
image courtesy of Matt Power