Friday, November 4, 2011

Slow Good

We're sailing, but we're not getting anywhere.

We have the jib poled out to windward and the main prevented. The windvane, mysteriously, is managing to steer us in the three knots or so of wind that we've been averaging for the last day and more. I never see the wheel turning, but whenever I look up at the masthead wind indicator, it shows us on a broad reach on port tack. The catch is that the wind seems to be "blowing" in a grand circle, so a broad reach on port tack might see us sailing southeast, or north, or dead west, or anywhere in between.

The boat is not perfectly still, but we've been in many anchorages with more roll than what we're experiencing out here, 300 miles from the coast of Australia and in 2500 meters of water.

Alisa and I prefer sailing to motoring, but usually when our boat speed falls to two knots or so we give up and fire up the iron genny. But in this case motoring through the light stuff would just get us into Bundaberg over the weekend, where we'd be faced with overtime charges for clearing in. And there is that pesky coolant leak that keeps me from wanting to run the donk for too long. So we're drifting around on port tack, waiting for the winds to return.

Two nights ago, at three in the morning, Alisa had an epiphany about night watches - something like, why are we standing watch when we're not going anywhere and can barely keep our eyes open anyway? So we both slept through the rest of that night, and, except for a few wake-ups to look things over, the whole of last night as well. We're now 15 days out of Futuna, and, except for our night at anchor in Ouvea, we had stood a continuous watch throughout. Doing that and then keeping up with two under-exercised boys during the day was beginning to seriously frazzle the collective parental vibe. Catching up on sleep has given us a second life - everything looks fresh, and we find ourselves happy for no apparent reason.

The wind will come again, as will the busy shipping traffic on the east coast of Oz, so we'll have a few more sleep-deprived nights before we get in. But for now we're enjoying this interlude of all being together, in this very improbable spot, doing nothing much but enjoying the company of our family. It feels like we've re-discovered one of the joys of life under sail, the occasional interruption of plans and schedules while nothing much happens for a day or two. Given how frantic we've occasionally been in recent months as we worked to pull off our trans-Pacific delivery/cruise on such a tight schedule, this has been a treat we've been well primed to enjoy.

1 comment:

  1. Hey guys! Glad all going well. Got your book yesterday, can't wait to give it a read! Still in Florida, boat needs a LOT more work than I anticipated. Still sailing though. Bought a house ('cause they were basically giving them away here!), starting culinary school next week ('cause I got govt benefits to burn or I lose them and it way beats having a job!) and loving life. Stay in touch!!