South Pacific – Day #8

4.2.18 @ 1000 Local, 1700 Zulú Day #8 Latitude: 14°57 N Longitude: 117°11 W Covered Distance Last 24 Hours: 101 NM Distance to the Marquesas: 1962 Distance from Punta de Mita, Mexico: 854 NM Weather: Sunny with 30% Cloud Cover Winds: N 11 Knots Sea State: 1’ – 3’ Barometer: 1014 Crew’s Mood: Finer than frog hair! Ever seen hair on a frog? That’s fine!
This definitely was no record setting day by any stretch but as we keep saying, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Light winds plagued us throughout the day but we were able to finally get a steady 5 knots with the spinnaker out. I guess for most of our highly stressed, fast living, landlubber friends this would have been a problem but for us, it’s just part of the journey. We try to look at the positive side. We are making way in fairly calm seas. The sun is out; it’s warm, we’re together and it’s an enjoyable sail. We are not on a time schedule so who cares if it takes a few days longer?
As evening approaches we pull down the spinnaker and throw up the Jib and the main. We eat dinner, listen to the PPJ net and I go down for a bit of shut eye before it’s my turn for watch duty. A few hours pass and there it is again…that creaking of the companionway doors. Damn! It’s the gallows man again. He’s back to taunt me. He seems to show up every night at the same time. I feel like I’m living the same dream over and over again. Is this some cruel joke? Am I playing a part in the movie, “Groundhog Day?” No, as my eyes open I realize I’m still here in heaven with the man I love and this is just a short term situation required to keep us safe. So, up I go. Time to get dressed, make my soda, grab my granola bar and get on deck. The night is calling and I must answer.
Even though the moon is almost full and its silvery beams are dancing on the water, I’m not enjoying this watch. The winds are so light the Jib starts flogging and before long it starts to back itself into the rigging. I make all the adjustments to course and to the sail that I know how to do but nothing works. This is the time I dread. I’m going to have to wake Dan up to determine what we should do. He always tells me it’s fine but I still hate to wake him. He needs his sleep too!
I keep waiting for an uptick in the wind. I wait until the last possible moment to go down and get him. The winds are less than 5 knots and I can see the Jib must come in. Down I go into the cabin. I’m not sure what is worse, being the prisoner or the gallows man himself! “Honey, you need to get up. We’ve got zero wind and the Jib is flogging. We need to bring it in.” At first he grunts a bit but soon he’s up and we’re back on deck. We bring in the Jib, adjust the main and he goes back to bed.
With the little wind we do have we are barely making 2 knots. It’s painfully slow and the main starts to flog here and there. One of my first lessons on Dazzler was that a flogging main is bad, very bad. It can damage the sail and the rigging so you need to avoid it at all costs. Tonight will be a test of my abilities and understanding of this rule. Unlike most watches where I watch the stars, play games on my iPad or write in my journal, tonight I will spend almost every second adjusting course to keep the wind, however little there is, in the sail.
The wind seems to keep changing direction and speed. Just when I think I’ve got it under control and I sit down for a minute, it changes and that familiar sound of a flogging sail starts to ring out. It’s stressful. I want it to be over and soon. If I knew fuel was unlimited I would just fire up the engine but alas that is not the case so I must ride this out.
0400 finally arrives and I hear Dan starting to move about in the cabin. “Thank you Lord. I made it!” I say aloud. After four hours my body finally starts to relax, my breathing returns to normal and I want nothing more than to go back to bed. Dan decides we have to run the engine for a while so his watch is the easy one. Oh well, my bunk is calling. It’s no longer my monkey or my circus.
Fast forward several hours. “What is that smell? Oh wait. I think I recognize it. Could it be? Oh yes, it’s bacon!” Is there anyone on earth that doesn’t love to wake up to the smell of bacon…you know, the fifth major food group? Just as my nose is being tickled by that Ode to Bacon scent I feel Dan at the foot of the bunk telling me I should get up because he’s making breakfast. Well heck yeah I’m getting up. I almost tackle him on my way out of then berth to get to the galley for a piece of that tantalizing treat. Yummy!
Now mama always told us kids never to air our dirty laundry in public so the picture you see above is “clean” laundry. Yep, just like in real life we have chores aboard Dazzler and laundry is one of them. If you’re used to your Whirlpool, 28 speed, it washes, dries and folds before kissing you goodnight machine then you’d be very disappointed by our archaic way of a accomplishing this task. But, you know what? It works! Dan uses our trusty agitator on a stick then runs the clothes through our rail mounted ringer and I hang them on the line to dry. It’s a team sport and we laugh and joke throughout it all.
Breakfast done, clothes washed and hanging to dry and it’s time to chill in the cockpit and watch the world go by. We’re flying the spinnaker again this morning and while there isn’t much wind we are still managing to eek out 5 knots for now so we are happy sailors.
Until next time,
Jilly

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