Pitstop in Minerva Cancelled
05 October 2009 | Zen is Halfway to NZ
The race is on, only 620 miles to go, and our younger crew members are slacking off. While passing (keyword: passing, we are still mourning that loss) the bright blue waters of Minerva Reef yesterday, s/v Miss Molly, a 66-foot Oyster sloop, challenged Zen to a friendly ocean race into NZ. It certainly makes the time go faster. Tom is half conscious and in need of sleep, but still looking aft, over our shoulder, wondering if we should put up more canvas! I just keep saying, "Go sleep for a few hours. OK?" Our motorsail started last night after dinner and is still happening right now at breakfast time. At 3:00am, our watch shift change, we jibed the code zero sail as the wind moved into the NW quadrant. The wind is still very light, but later today it will freshen and come in our face.
Tom's dad was an ole' salt and Navy man. He taught his son to be conservative, respect the ocean and when it comes to weather, safety at sea is a priority. He must be contacting Tommy spiritually, because although the winds are not predicted to rise above 25 to 30 knots, my husband is pulling out all the safety gear. It's not alarming in any way. If anything, it makes me feel even better that we are ready for anything. This morning I awoke to find him explaining to the lacky crew members what a drogue and storm jib are. The drogue is heavy duty webbing, constructed in the form of a conical net, that is deployed off the back of the boat with very long lines. It sits 2 waves behind us. As we rise on a wave, it rises on a wave. It slows Zen down if we are surfing too fast. A storm jib is a very small triangular sail that goes up in the front of the boat on our roller furling stay. It is made of very beefy material and catches just a small amount of wind. These two items allow for terrific control and steerage. Grandmas, don't freak out. We will never have to deploy either one of them. But, be happy they are not stuffed so far away that they are inaccessible. Tom's got that one covered. Isn't it funny to purchase "safety toys" for Zen, with the whole idea of never wanting to use them? Guess it is like insurance.
Other than every outside surface being encrusted in salt and the air becoming radically colder, all is perfectly fine onboard. Night watches consist of dressing in many layers and putting on the full set of foulies. I even have my rubber boots on! Meanwhile, the kids are warm and comfy in their heavy sleeping bags. Maybe too comfy! Miss Molly is only 10 miles behind us and closing fast.