Sun 23 May 2010 17:31
On Silver Bear the distance from behind the helming wheel to the front of the cockpit, under the canopy, is approximately 6 feet, but it is miles away in terms of comfort and effort. Last night was a true test of our desire to go sailing. At 0130 the boat was banging and the sails flogging as the wind increased to what, under normal circumstances, would be a healthy force 6. The problem was the rain and lack of any instrument lights..and the wind was once again on the nose. Once reefed and again making good progress surfing down the following waves I started my 3 hour watch as the rain and swell increased. Modern foul weather gear is good but as good as that may be it does not stop the water going down your neck, sleeves and anywhere else it can find a way in. Not such a problem in the tropics where wet clothes dry in a few minutes, out in mid-atlantic the damp seems to hang around for days as if it were in Plymouth and on a little boat bobbing up and down 1000 miles from land in any direction it seems natural to ask what enjoyment there is in all this. This is not an unusual story and anyone who has ever taken to the water in a boat in less than ideal circumstances will understand what I am saying. So here we are the next morning exactly 845 nautical miles (a nautical mile is further than a land mile for anyone who might be wondering) from Bermuda in one direction and the Azores in the other, the wind has completely disappeared and we are lurching from side to side concentrating on the fishing line hanging off the stern which yesterday lost it's entire line and tackle when some sea-monster swam off with it (and no it was'nt the Whale).
So what am I moaning about I, like every other madman that takes to sea in a little boat, knew what it was like before I started. It's because we have a short memory span and simple needs, after only a few hours and a marvellous breakfast of Ash's home (boat) made bread, scrambled egg and baked beans we feel fortified and once again ready to take on the world. I suppose it's about enduring the lows to appreciate the highs. Why am I rambling on like a half-wit, well partly so that someone will do the kind thing and remind me what it's really like if I suggest doing a similar thing again, also because I am bobbing up and down in a sea with no wind and If I appear to be doing skipper like things then hopefully someone else will scrape the hard remains of the scrambled egg off the saucepan... thanks Tony.
The washing up done I'm off to find a good book to read.