Mostly Drifting.

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Wed 11 Dec 2013 04:38
Noon Position: 07 16.2 S 151 35.5 E
Course: North nor’ east Speed: 4 knots
Wind: West nor’ west, F3 - gently breeze
Sea: slight Swell: South east 0.5 meters
Weather: sunny, warm, and humid
Days run: 41 nm sailed (and drifted), 21 nm made good.

Today’s progress has been a marginal improvement over yesterday’s, making an additional four miles for a total of twenty one miles in the direction in which we wish to go. After making absolutely no progress yesterday afternoon, except to hold our own against the south west setting current, by midnight what little wind there was, was not. The drifter lay limp against the shrouds, chafing as it flowed like an undulating jelly fish in the back and forth of the apparent breeze created by Sylph rolling rhythmically to the short slight swell from the south east. I dropped the sail and we spent the remainder of the night drifting.

At sunrise I poked my head up out of the companionway, looking this way and that, like a gopher poking its head up out of its burrow, to see if all is safe. But I was sniffing for wind, and wind there was, just a little, just enough I thought to give the drifter a go. My lumbering body had its protesting solidity dragged out on deck, lagging several feet behind my not so heavy but not so powerful will, where, once my body had caught up, the will coaxed it into setting the drifter. Despite these Herculean early morning labours, less than an hour later the sail had to come down again, as drizzle on deck announced an approaching rain squall. At least the light drops were refreshing on the skin, and helped to bring my physical being more in line with that of my mental world. I hoisted the mainsail, handed the drifter, set the jib, and then stood and watched the wind disappear altogether as dark clouds blotted out the sun and rivulets streamed down my torso.

The shower past, the sun blazing bright again, now perspiration dripped over my skin as it refused to evaporate in the still humidity. I scanned the horizon and sure enough, a little further out to the west could be seen dark ruffled water, the unmistakeably sign of wind on water. The passing shower had brought a change and ten minutes later the sails bellied out to leeward, Sylph heeled slightly to starboard, the wind vane stood up, and a wake chuckled out astern as Sylph started making way again.

In the last six hours we have made more ground than in the previous twenty four. Tomorrow the winds are forecast to be light from the north, which will perhaps have us back near to where we started today. Not to worry. Sisyphus pushes his rock up the hill, most people join the daily commute, whereas I get to mess about in my boat.

All is well.