Monday, July 31, 2017

Galapagos to Marquesas Day 13

30th July 2017

Current Position: 08 03.1S / 126 06.3W at 0230 UTC, 2030 boat time Galapagos. SOG 7.4kts. COG 269T. Wind E 12kts. Sea State: slight swell. DTR 762nm. 24 hr run 164nm.

The "iron sail" came into play in the early hours of today just as we thought it would. The wind slowly got softer and softer. The sails jitterbugging all over the place from one side to the other while the wind gods tossed a coin as to where the breeze would eventually come from. Then it settled coming in from the northeast. This was not good, effectively pushing us further and further south away from our destination. There was nothing left to do but burn some diesel and turn back towards the rhumbline.

Midnight to dawn watches are my favourite. The night air is cool and crisp and it gives you time to clear your mind letting it wander into the corners of your memory. Shooting stars streak across the indigo sky leaving a trail of white wash and sometimes effervescent green behind them as the fall towards earth. I often wonder if it is space junk, meteors or a distant star disintegrating from another galaxy that I am seeing. Nocturnal sea birds occasionally glide by looking for a quick bite to eat from the bounty of the sea. Their white underbellies illuminated by our masthead tricolour light and a wake of twinkling phosphorescence dances across the rushing waters behind us we move forward across this endless expanse of blue. Night watches are truly magical.

It is quite a humbling experience out here in the vastness of this ocean. Before the modern era of sailing with its bells and whistles of electronic charts, GPS and autopilots our true forefathers of navigation looked up at the same night sky and the same stars and found their way around this planet with just a sextant and star to guide them. To say that they were amazing is an understatement.

The broken outhaul flapping in the breeze
So onto things that go bump in the night, or rather bang in the night. I must have jinxed us yesterday saying that a day without breakages is a good day. Because in the wee small hours the "bang " thing happened. It wasn't 'till the light of day that the bang revealed itself. Our outhaul, the rope that pulls the foot of our mainsail along the boom and keeps it taught, decided it was time to have a break, and I mean that literally. With no tension on the foot anymore it was ballooning out like Marilyn Monroe's dress in that iconic photo as she stood over the subway grate. A good look for her but can't say the same for our sail.

So Mr fix-it got to work assuming the pose of downward dog-upward dog while balancing at the wobbly end of our 25ft boom. He did a sterling job and an hour and a half later it was all finished and we were onto our morning lattes. It's a temporary fix, but it will get us to our next anchorage without a problem.

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