22 November 2010 | 32 22.79'N:64 40.23'W, Newport, R.I.
Monday, November 22
After another 120-mile plus run, we start today well South of Bermuda.
At lunch on Sunday, we were rewarded for tolerating a night of shifty winds by the easterly trades filling in, moderate at first, but by 1400 we were down to two reefs in the main and the genoa. Calm seas quickly built and aboard Tioga, we were off to the races as the wind freshened well into the 20s. By late afternoon, we were all back in foul weather gear with waves slapping the side and pouring aboard to soak the unaware.
Dinner for the evening was Olf√-s goulash, a spicy dish served over pasta, and devoured in the cockpit soon after moonrise.
Peter and I took the 6-9 p.m. watch. Waves washed past us and puffy low-lying clouds soon filled the sky. On the horizon we spotted the lights of a northbound freighter. When its range lights were clear, Philip hailed the captain on the VHF and the talked briefly, us wondering if the captain knew the score of the New England Patriot√-s game, and he wanting to confirm he could see us on his radar. His ship was bound for England from the West Indies, and he wished us a good journey to our destination in the islands where he√-d just come from. Soon the cockpit was empty as those not on watch headed below for naps. As our shift ended, Peter and I debated with Bob over whether or not to douse the main, but concluded the ride was still good. We√-d leave the call to Philip at midnight.
Below, it was like trying to sleep in a rushing, bouncing freight train. We flew along at 7, 8, sometimes 9 knots as we broadsided the growing swells. Occasionally, Tioga would leap off a wave, leaving the not-so-sound-asleep crew below momentarily airborne. It was brisk sailing indeed, and produced just the effects one on the hunt for overhead leaks would have appreciated.
Peter and I were back on deck today 0300. The sky was crystal clear and we galloped along, the moon and Orion to starboard and Mercury just popping above the horizon. Soon, a hint of color could be seen off to the east, and before you know it, Bob (pictured at dawn) was back at the wheel, as Doug wandered up on deck with coffee. On my way below, I stopped to tighten the main halyard and discovered that the cheek block leading it to the winch from the mast had exploded. That would explain the sagging sail, and at least one of the many bumps we heard in the night.
Day Four will unfold as it will, but started with bucket showers all around. It√-s no easy thing to reach over the leeward rail, drop the bucket on a rope, fill it partially, and then haul it back aboard, but Philip honed the technique, and with four already washed, and two to go, no one yet has lost the bucket. Who knows what punishment might be earned by such a move.
So all√-s well, except for something that Doug saw in the head that made him loose his breakfast. I suspect we√-ll hear that story (more than once, perhaps?) as the day unfolds.
For now, though, it√-s time to file this post and see what the weather GRIBs have in store for us.
This post is made possible by Iridium and Global Marine Networks.