• Hobart On The Horizon

    Day 116 (56 days since Ushuaia)

    Noon Position: 44 08S. 119 51E

    Course/Speed: E7

    Wind: WSW25+

    Miles last 24 hours: 168

    Longitude Made Good: 152

    Total Miles: 15,948

    Miles to Hobart: 1240

    Quick report tonight as the day has been long and the night may be … eventful.

    Wind swung into the WSW today and went to 25+. At noon I switched to the twin headsails poled out and we’ve been running before fast, squally weather ever since. Seas are running high due to winds further south, so Mo is a bit of a roller coaster ride. Winds have come up to 30 tonight, so I don’t know where this is going; thus the need to stay “on watch.”

    This afternoon I performed more engine tests and found seawater in the crankcase oil (by boiling it on the stove and watching for bubbles). So, did an oil and filter change that took until after sundown due to Mo jumping around like an electrocuted cat. But we make good easting, for which I am happy.


    Day 114

    Noon Position: 44 08S 113 31E

    Course/Speed: E7

    Wind: NW18

    Bar: 1016

    Sky: Overcast, though clear till noon

    Sea: NW5–big roller coming in from somewhere

    Cabin Temp: 64 Sea Temp: 53

    Miles last 24 hours: 169

    Longitude Made Good: 164

    Total Miles: 15,653

    Miles to Hobart: 1513

    When you have the opportunity to see your wife some 1500 miles on, you do the distance math…a lot. Wind machines, that are slow by nature, and schedules aren’t a good match. Much could go right, and wrong. In the 17 days since Mo lost her port pilot house window, we’ve made 2309 miles of easting for an average run of 136 miles a day. This is somewhat below our 139 mile-a-day average from Ushuaia to now; winds have been lighter up here at 44S than down at 47S. It’s also nominally below the 137 miles a day we need to average in order to arrive Hobart on the 19th. Any way you slice it, it’s a close run thing. Which is why as winds eased today, I went for the big guns, that being the big genoa and full main…wind on the beam, 7 knots.

    I am largely happy with the foods I’ve packed aboard Mo. Over a hundred days on, the dishes are still appetizing, though there are only four breakfast recipes and five for dinner. This could be due to the fact that, in the case of dinner, curry paste, chicken stock and butter added to any recipe make it a winner. But they are winners. There have been some exceptions, however. At home, I enjoy Quinoa and so featured it in one recipe, whose quantity required I pack aboard 40 pounds of that grain. I don’t know why except that it is simply a matter of taste. I found for that recipe that I preferred Polenta, of which until this week, I hadn’t even opened the first bag. brought but 15 pounds (stocked up in Ushuaia).

    Yesterday I forced myself to use the Quinoa. Bingo. Now it’s a favorite. De gustibus non disputandum. Another example is Soylent, one of the very generous Figure 8 sponsors. I have aboard enough Soylent for one meal a day, a favorite easy meal for me. But, I’ve not been taking advantage as often as I anticipated due, I finally figured out, to friction in the process. It was the bag, which can be messy to open and scoop from on a boat bouncing six ways from Sunday. The fix occurred last week: transfer the powder to a separate container with its own scoop! Simple. And I’ve had Soylent every day since!


    Day 113

    Noon Position: 44 30S. 109 43E

    Course/Speed: ENE7

    Wind: NW18

    Bar: 1018

    Sky: Clear: cloud front windward

    Sea: NW3

    Cabin Temp: 58

    Sea Temp: 51

    Miles last 24 hours: 132

    Longitude Made Good: 125

    Total Miles: 15,484

    Miles to Hobart: 1673

    Light winds overnight—from the southwest until early morning, and then gently they swung into the northwest and stayed light. I rose every hour and a half. Each time there was more south in our course. Finally at 4am it was too much south. I dressed, had a snack, and then swapped the headsails—larger genoa to starboard, smaller to port. And off we raced east. Wind kept its migration into the north as the day matured, and by noon we were back to main and the working jib. Average speed, 7 knots.

    Yesterday I did an inventory of beer and wine aboard, this for Oz customs, who apparently don’t mind my having a liberal supply of both…as long as they know how much that is. One locker reserved for beer is the ice box in the galley. It’s long term storage—I don’t go in there much. Upon lifting the lid, I noted a peculiar smell, a smell very unlike the malty, hoppy odors left over from a can that exploded in the tropics, though those were present as well. This odor had a spicy quality to it reminiscent of the aftershave splash my dad favored, pleasant enough on its own but not the best accompaniment to stale malt and hops. Some digging turned up a disfigured and desiccated Old Spice deodorant stick sans lid that had wedged between two bottles of Cape Horn Lager. Aha! One mystery solved. How did it get in there?

    One thing that is coming home to me is just how far Mo went over during the knockdown that blew out her port window. This icebox lid, for example, came off. That’s no mean feat. The lid is about a foot long and a foot wide and six six inches deep, and under normal circumstances, it takes two hands lifting straight up to unseat it. But I recall looking into the galley after we righted. Mostly I saw water sloshing everywhere, but there too was the icebox lid tipped up against a cupboard. (Luckily nothing came out as much of what it contains is glass.) This can only mean that for a brief moment, Mo was well past 90 degrees over, and I’m beginning to suspect that we weren’t simply slammed over by a breaker but actually were pushed off the top of a sea and fell into the trough.

    In my estimation, only that kind of force could have blown out the window, leaving nothing but shards around the rim. And unbeknownst to me, as Mo fell, a red stick of deodorant flew from the head and across the boat to the galley, where it collided with a cupboard, which separated it from its lid. The lid fell behind the stove and the stick did a hole-in-one into the icebox, neither to be found for days and days. Which begs a curious question: what is a solo sailor doing with deodorant aboard anyway?


    Day 112 (Day 52 since Ushuaia)

    Noon Position: 44 16S 106 50E

    Course/Speed: E6

    Wind: SSW15

    Bar: 1015

    Sea: SW8

    Sky: Clear, Cumulus: look like Tradewind weather

    Cabin Temp: 56

    Sea Temp: 51

    Miles last 24 hours: 143

    Longitude Made Good: 116

    Total Miles: 15,352

    Miles to Hobart: 1800. I need to average 138 miles/day in order to arrive Hobart in time to see my wife, who arrives on the 19th.

    Weather building. It started on the 4th. At first NW 20, then 25, then 30. By 6am on the 5th winds had gone 30 plus, at which point I opened our course up from E to SE to make the ride more comfortable. I’ll ease back up on the coming W and SW winds, I thought, winds I anticipated any moment. But the bar kept dropping. 1007, 1005, 1004; every hour or two, down a point. And then the wind veered into the N, as high as 350 true. Now, instead of a SE course for comfort, I was locked in. I couldn’t point any higher without taking a building, toppling swell dead on the beam. And we were racing, a steady seven knots on a double reefed working jib and a three-reef main.

    After sundown, wind increased to the high 30s gusting 40. I dropped the main. Bar down to 1002. By 11pm there was more 40 than 30 in the wind. Bar down to 1001.I rolled in the working jib until it looked like something you could fold up and put in your pocket. Swell had built to a steep and sloshy 8 or 10 feet, but was nothing serious if left on the quarter. After a time I figured this was the max we’d get; Mo was riding fine, so I started sleeping. An hour later the radar alarm woke me. “Targets in your guard zone,” it said. Nothing but sea clutter, I thought. But before I could check, I noticed was Mo was off course. The chart plotter showed her heading due north, and her turn on the screen was sharp. A glance at the wind indicator showed wind still 40 and still on port, but now the direction was not 350T but 210T; from nearly north to nearly south—same velocity, in about an hour. Then I noticed pounding. Now we were pushing into the NW sea. Our speed, 3 knots. I had to gybe around.

    On deck, things were wild. Mo jumped and kicked like a wild mustang. Sea spray and rain flew every which way. It took an hour to move the sheets from starboard to port; roll in the jib; gybe, and unroll it again, simple work when you don’t need to hold on with both hands and feet. I kept checking the wind indicator because I simply couldn’t believe wind could do a one-eighty like that and hold its punch. Indicator kept reading 40. Gybe complete I came below and waited.

    By 3am winds were down to 30-35, so I called it a watch and started sleeping again. In the morning, blue sky filled with tropical cumulus and a sea full of birds, prions, storm petrels, albatross. And the sea itself, a lumpy, heaving, chaos of opposing swell. But by afternoon it was all over. As I type, wind is coming into the west at 10 knots. I have the twin headsails out full, and we make 5 knots on flat (for the south) water.

    This article was originally published in forum thread: Molli's Misadventures started by Photoboy View original post