A Nice Day

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Thu 14 Jan 2010 17:45
Position: 44 09.6 S 061 00.5 W
Course: South by west Speed 3.5 knots
Wind: West south'west, F3: gentle breeze
Weather: Sunny, clear sky, mild.
Day´s Run: 47 nm (73 nm distance sailed)

Conditions continued to improve and late yesterday afternoon I handed the
tyrsail and set the mainsail with two reefs, an hour later we were down to
one reef. At 6.30 p.m. we tacked in an attempt to close the coast but by
10.30 pm. I had given up, we were only retracing the ground upon which we
had sailed south on, I was finding it just too frustrating to continue and I
regret to have to admit to a few sailor´s curses a little stronger than my
usual "Oh bother!". I tacked back to a southerly heading and set full sail -
3.30 this morning and the wind had deserted us completely, the sails were
simply slatting in the still appreciable swell so dropped the mainsail and
reduced the jib down to about 40 % to minimise chafe and returned to my
bunk. At 6.00 the breeze returned - back up with full sail continuing close
hauled on the starboard tack.
And today has so far been a wonderful day, the sun shining and a nice breeze
drawing us a long at a steady three to four knots. The barometer has
gradually made its way up to 1011 mb from the low of 997 mb two days ago (we
haven´t seen it that low since we were 50 degrees north approaching Ireland
with a small gale behind us). I have taken the opportunity to do a few
chores on deck, and the only disaster of the day so far is the handle
falling off my one and only saucepan - I think I can live with this.
At 8.45 a large northbound merchant ship passed a couple of miles
to the west of us, they must have come form Cape Horn. I called them up on
VHF, her name as best I could make out was MV Ocean Drill and the watch
officer confirmed they had just come from Valparaiso by way of Cape Horn and
that the weather down that way was very bad. I asked if they had heard any
news about Jessica Watson but they hadn´t heard off her so undoubtedly this
is good news.
I finished reading Moitessier´s "Cape Horn - The Logical Route" last night,
must confess he isn´t exactly my cup of tea, in Australian parlance we have
an expression I am tempted to use but it is considered impolite . . . "at
one with the sea; feel the ship; 'Joshua' talks to me, ´Give me wind and I
will give you miles - thousands and thousands of miles"; I could hear Vito
Dumas talk to me." All very nice but just not my style. And I find the
regular daily runs for Joshua rather incredible but they must be so, rather
puts Sylph and I to shame. No, I am afraid give me old Josh Slocum or Bill
Tilman any day, much more matter of fact no nonsense writing while still
being highly entertaining. Which reminds me, as I looked at the chart this
morning comparing my nice planned route following the coast line headland to
headland versus where we actually are, 130 miles from South America, I am
reminded of one of Bill Tilman´s favourite sayings (quoting Moltke), "No
plan survives contact with the enemy." Which of course is not considered
very correct these days, taking a confrontational stand with nature, but
still it caught my thoughts.
Not sure what the weather is going to do from here, my latest grib file
indicates north-westerlies tomorrow, hopefully they will allow us to close
the coast before we get punched on the nose again with some more strong
All is well.
Bob Cat:
This is a little better, things have calmed down a lot, the trip to the food
bowl is much less perilous, the bathroom much less treacherous, and the
temperature is perfect for . . . Zzzzzzz.