Monday, April 17, 2017


When we bought Galactic in 2011 we mounted a GPS unit in the cockpit and the odometer on it said 0 nautical miles when we set out from the marina in Alameda, California where we fitted out.

The same odometer reads just at this moment 46,242 nautical miles. The big majority of those miles have been sailed under main and jib.

So that main and that jib are starting to feel a little creaky.

We blew a luff grommet out of the main yesterday, high up on the sail, above the third reef, so we couldn't set even a reefed main until it was fixed.

In South Africa where sails are a good deal we decided not to replace the main. We're still fine with that decision, but keeping this old main going is going to involve a little extra work.

After finding the rip we pulled the main down and unrolled a little more jib to keep us moving.

And that's when we saw that a seam at the head of that sail had come adrift.

We rolled the jib up again to take the load off the failing seam. It was a squally rainy day, unsuitable for a 5200 patch, my go-to approach for at-sea sail fixes. So we settled back to wait for dry weather while we lazed along at 4.5 knots under half a jib alone.

It's a funny thing. When the boat is, well, crippled isn't the right word, let's say "challenged", far far from land, that's when a passage really comes to life. Before you set out, the true nature of the passage isn't apparent. You can plan your best route for the forecasted winds and make a best guess at how many days a trip will take, but when that unexpected thing happens, like both your main and jib ripping at once, that's when the passage declares itself. That's when you find out exactly what kind of ride you bought a ticket for. And, that's when, if you fancy yourself an ocean sailor, you get the chance to see if you're right.

The squalls had moved on by dinner time and after slooowly cogitating through the possible patching approaches open to me, a process enabled by the memory of all the not-so-good patches that I've made in the past, I started gluing away on night watch.

I was finished by 0130. In the morning I sewed up various bits of hardware that needed re-attaching, and Elias and Alisa and I bent the sail back on the mast.

We do have a new South African jib aboard, so we're not too stressed about the state of our old trusty that is currently flying. With any luck we'll get that on deck tomorrow morning, and a few hours of hand stitching should set us right.

That sounds easier than changing sails just now.

So that's us. Panama City 2,000 miles away over the stern, and Kona 2,700 miles in front of the bow. And with any luck, this passage has done all the declaring that it has to do

This post was sent via our high-frequency radio as we're far from internet range. Pictures to follow when we reach internet again. We can't respond to comments for now, though we do see them all!

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  1. Sending you energy as you do the magic that you guys seem to know how to do... and that that it seems to take to make this kind of a journey. sending love,

  2. You guys are really amazing! Our minds and hearts are following your passage, thanks for the details ;) Hope everything is fixed by now... hugs for all!