REPORT - DAY 12 - MAINSAIL BACK UP
28 April 2010 | Underway from Mexico to Marquesas
We are flying. 1,200 miles behind us now. The screen says 6.5 knots speed over ground, but it feels like 7 or 8. Who cares? We are flying along. The foaming wake rushes by our side like city traffic, the huge swoosh of it gushing behind us like storm water,the bows pushing white water out of the way, fussing, as we bowl along in the moonlight. I'm below typing at the computer and still I hear it - a bush stream after rains, a waterfall, and now the boomph!! of a wave hitting the side. Twenty two-thirty California time zero six three zero in Greenwich, Adrienne asleep, off-watch, and I drink hot tea and nibble on fresh baked cookies. Adrienne wakes and speaks in gibberish: finstikuffs! - Glin my hoogle my fren! OOSH OOSH Baggoogle! I reply. It is a brief exchange - -- she enters sleep again. Baking cookies (earlier this evening)as the boat gallops along swaying and stumbling, is a delicate and even dangerous art. The gimbaled stove has a heavy oven door which, when opened, changes the balance and the stove rolls forward, spilling the tray of whatever cook is baking. What a marvel when finished! Cooling on a tea towel.
I ate three cookies.
We are on a port tack now, wind NNE on the port quarter, bow heading due South. Funny isn't it, you can go due North, due West, DUE East - but do you go due Southeast? No. We are "tacking downwind". As I explained yesterday, the wind - being directly in line with the desired course - doesn't work, yachts don't sail well dead downwind - so we go zig-zagging away from it, and the motion is more comfortable, the speed greater and the sails stay full. Wind blowing about 18 knots, all day and night for a couple of days now (I lose track of time) except when it rests, slows down to 8 or 10, then we get boistered by boisterous waves and the sails flap irritably, not liking it at all.
Today (remember we tore the main?) we hoisted the spare mainsail. It is very difficult to raise a mainsail while the boat is running with the wind (picture us running now for days on end) so we bring her on the wind, which increases wind velocity as we do so, and each slug goes into the mast track and the halyard lifts the sail higher into the wind. May have taken an hour, maybe two, or more, I really don't know, but it's done! Put two reefs in it (to reef is to reduce the area of the sail) so it won't blanket the big jib, and now we go back on course, the autopilot steering the whole time while we work. Chinese stir-fry chicken for lunch, regulation issue single bottle of beer each, and we have a ketch under full sail - jib, main and mizzen.
A good day.