A New Record

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Thu 1 Oct 2009 13:39
Noon Position: 30 27.2 N 013 21.5 W
Course: ??? Speed: 0 knots
Wind: South, light air
Weather: Sunny, warm
Day's Run: 4 miles

In the last 24 hours we have posted an all time record low for distance run. Even on the calmest days I normally drift further than this. Towards dusk I noticed that the drifter's luff was a bit slack and went to tighten the halyard but looking up noticed that the halyard block had come adrift from the masthead and the sail was only being held up by a small fairlead block. I dropped the drifter and bagged it. It wasn't doing anything by this time anyway, the sea was mirror smooth and there was not even a puff to be felt.

I went on deck a few times during the night to check on things, to look for a breeze, but nothing. About 2 in the morning as the moon was starting to set in the smooth dark sea, a long silver slash beneath it and the reflection of the odd bright star shimmering in the low slow swell I could hear some dolphins breathing in the distance. I whistled to see if they might come and say hello. Sure enough, after a couple of minutes I could hear them getting closer and could see the luminescence of their wakes as they broke surface. I continued whistling as tunefully as I could to guide them in, my limited range dull compared to their complex virtuosos. As they got closer I was surrounded by splashes of phosphorous green and a few minuts later the dolphins were up to the boat, swimming around and under her, frequently breaking the surface with a splash and a sparkle of cold blue white fire. Beneath me ghostly trails swirled in twisting gyres. I looked aloft into the brilliant night sky, billions of stars shone all round me. Sometimes sitting very still is a good thing to do.

The day dawned as calm as the might passed away. Some fish have taken up residence in Sylph's shadow, a couple of small tuna followed each other closely in circles around the boat, a striped fish about a foot long swims slowly several feet further down and deeper still I can see a small short dark fish fluttering. I think of putting a line over but decide not to. It is too peaceful to bring blood and death on board.

Just before noon the seas surface is ruffled by a light breeze. I promptly set the mainsail and jiib then go aloft to repair the drifter halyard block. It is an easy job and 20 minutes later we have furled the jib and set the drifter. Unfortunately the breeze is a tease, so the mainsail is back down and we are left with the drifter barely filling and the fish have easily kept pace with our small spurt, they are still there enjoying the shade of Sylph's hull.

Some wind will come.

All is well.

Bob Cat:

I am going to go completely crazy. Did the skipper say he can see some fish over the side, and won't put a line out? Where oh where did this man come from? Oh woe! Oh woe! If I had sack cloth I would put it on, if there were ashes about I would shower them over my head. I am the Job of felines. Why do I suffer thus?

"Sleepe is paines easiest salve, and doth fulfill
All offices of death, except to kill."

Maybe when I awake I will be born into a new world.