Wednesday, June 6, 2012

"W" Stands for Wind

Wind is the order of the day, and for the past three days, we have had a steady 15-20 knots, with a few gusts in the low twenties. It would feel like nothing if we were sailing dead downwind, but since we have been on a beam or broad reach most of the time, the ride can get to be a bit rough. We have had to carry a double reef in the main and sometimes, partially furl the headsail, in order to keep the boat not only from heeling too far, but from crashing about too much. At night with the bulkheads creaking, the gimbaled stove squeaking (despite generous applications of lube), and the off-watch crew member trying to sleep, we try not to push the boat too hard. There is a cross swell out here that occasionally slaps the hull as if the boat were hitting a solid object. Then, the boat shudders momentarily before it heels a little further to starboard and surfs down the wave in a rush of spray at a speed one or two knots faster than it was previously going. We have been making over 140 miles per day for the last four days and with any luck, may actually make it to Hiva Oa inside of the next week!

There is a price to pay for all this speed though, and my body looks as if I've been the guinea pig for a phlebotomy techniques class. I'm bruised, battered, and fatigued---either from being flung across the cabin and crashing into something, or from leaning into something so hard that I'm kept from being flung across the cabin. There is also the whiplash effect of grabbing a handhold in time not to be flung about, but of coming to a sudden, jerking stop instead.

It is my birthday at sea today, and thoughtful Patrick tried to bake me a cake. We didn't have the right sized pan, and although the batter fit in the pan we had---and would have baked just fine on land---some of the liquid cake batter splashed out of the pan and all over the oven door. This type of incident happens about fifteen times a day out here and can lead to our use of some pretty colorful language.

The swells have been so big the past few days, I haven't bothered with fishing. Today, I put a line in the water at sun-up. The last time I checked it, both my wire leader and tuna feather were gone! Must have been another big one that got away...I have a lot of tuna feathers left, thanks to a generous gift from Bob Ferran, but I'm running out of hooks!

The sea under sunny skies is the color of blue jean dye, embroidered in whitecaps whipped up by the wind. For the time being, we inhabit a world of indigo and lace.

Posted from sea via Ham Radio.


  1. Happy Birthday, Kirsten! I called you, I'll try again soon. Things are ok here..(not really) but they ain't horrible either. The weather is nice, although we got overcasted out of the solar eclipse as well as the Venus traversing the sun deal too.



  2. Happy birthday to you, Kirsten! I'm sure it's one you'll long remember, as it your first birthday living in such circumstances....

    As uzh, am enjoying reading about your life at sea/see.

    Dennis--a virtual hello to you, too. Sorry you got overcasted out of solar eclipse. No fog in SF that day, so I watched through eclipse-approved lenses from my roof.

    xo, Kim

  3. Happy Birthday Dear Kirsten....

  4. Happy Happy Birthday Kirsten! I didn't realize til recently that if I opened the blog in the method I just used, that I can make comments. Reading of your adventures on a regular basis is really fun...and my mind's eye does a good job of helping me seeing what you might be least a little bit!

    Hope things calm down a bit for you, though I know the faster you go the sooner you get there! But, looking like a science project isn't all that great either...perhaps a happy medium...?

    Take good care and I send you lots of well wishes and love...

    Aunt Helen

  5. Thoroughly enjoying the blog, photos, comments. I am so jealous. You guys are a team. Unbelievable photos.