I Peeked!

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Sat 30 May 2009 18:37
Noon Position: 43 32.0 N 054 30.5 W
Course: East nor'east
Wind: Southeast, moderate breeze,
Weather: Fog, cool. Sea: moderate
Day's Run: 116 miles

I confess, I peeked. Yes at 5.30 this morning I succumbed to temptation and turned the GPS on for a moment to confirm where we were. Yesterday afternoon we had snugged down to two reefs in the main and had the jib rolled up about half size, still we seemed to be making good speed, I stood on deck for a while late yesterday ensconced inside my foul weather gear, spray spuming over the bow, the odd wave sweeping the deck, assessing the situation, deciding whether to snug down further for the night or continue as we were. Apart from the spray and the occasional crash bang as we leaped off a wave, Sylph seemed pretty comfortable, nothing seemed to be straining too much, the forecast was for things to remain pretty much the4 same overnight so I decided to leave things be and let Sylph have her head. We spent the night crashing over and through the waves. I had a couple of dreams of Sylph riding through fields and bushes with trees sweeping past, then we were sailing up the main street of a town, barely under control, residents fleeing before us, a railway crossing ahead with a train on it, was it going to clear before we got there, it did, just, we piled on through the crossing and on the other side plunged neatly into a swamp, rounded up, dropped what was left of the sails and found some peace. I awoke but we were not at peace, the crashing was still going on. "Hmm!" I thought, "Am I worried about our position?" My last sun sight had been midday yesterday, and that rather hastily taken between spray dousing me and the sextant. I certainly wasn't worried about ending up in fields and towns but the Grand Banks were ahead and I didn't want to cross their steep shoaling shelf with a stiff breeze, opposing the Labrador current, piling jumbled waves up against the submarine incline. We tried that off Cape Hatteras - definitely not a good idea. So I succumbed, I turned the little box on and noted down the neat little numbers that blinked to life moments later. Plotting them on the chart I was pleased to see that our GPS position was only 12 miles southeast of my DR, I would say I had either allowed a little too much for leeway or more likely we were being affected by the Labrador Current, which I had not taken account of. Reassured and feeling more confident with my rusty celestial navigation skills, I made a short prayer to the god of technology and turned the 'thing' back off.

This forenoon the wind has moderated and veered just a little, so we have shaken out a reef and are now plunging through the mellowing seas at about five knots; the forecast is for the winds to veer further into the southwest, this will allow us to start making some ground to the south so we can get around those icebergs.

One minor disaster to report, this afternoon we ran out of fresh ground City Dock coffee, I don't have to resort to instant yet, but this stuff I'm now drinking from a vacuum sealed pack is definitely not the good stuff.

Oh yeah, it's foggy outside.

All is well.

Bob Cat:

As you, gentle reader, may have come to know me a little by now, you will appreciate that I am not one to grumble, but really, last night, was that all really necessary? What a racket, and skipper Bob continually climbing in and out of the bunk, I almost had to find somewhere else to sleep. And after the past few days of some tuna titbits, it seems even this small amelioration to the hard life of a cat at sea has vanished. Back to the hard tack it seems. Oh such short respite from a sailor's life of hardship and deprivation. Oh well, you know my motto: . Zzzzzzz.