Slowly, slowly

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Mon 12 Aug 2013 03:50
Noon Position: 32 17.3 S 152 36.4 E
Course: East Speed: 3.5 knots
Wind: Northeast F3 gentle breeze
Sea: slight Swell: northeast 1 meters
Weather: sunny, mild
Day’s run: 35 Nm (65 nm sailed)

Winds have been quite a bit lighter overnight than I expected. We had made good progress during the day and towards sunset were a little east of Sugarloaf Point. The wind was freshening so, expecting it to strengthen further and to remain on the nose, and aiming for comfort rather than speed, I reduced sail to a double reefed mainsail and about 50% headsail. We continued offshore until things started to get bouncy. Just before nine o’clock, now with a bit of west in the wind, we tacked to head back inshore to see if we could find a bit more comfort in the lee of the land, and perhaps avoid the worst of the East Coast current.

We came in close to the shore, about a mile off Sugarloaf Point. The beam of the light house high up on its cliff face scythed the night air, Sylph’s sails flashed glaring white in its beam, every seven point five seconds precisely. The seas had flattened out as I had hoped but, when we tacked again I was disappointed to find that instead of paralleling the coast we were heading 180 degrees in the opposite direction, back out to sea. Sylph’s tacking angle is not the greatest at the best of times but this was ridiculous. I figured a combination of the swell, being under-canvassed, and the current were all working against old Sylph. Oh well, my plan was to remain comfortable for the night and this was working out so I decided not to worry about our heading too much and consoled myself that at least we were on the sleeping tack, that is the port tack, with the wind over the port side causing Sylph to heel to starboard which in turn means that gravity is helping me to stay in the bunk and not trying to throw me out, which generally makes for a much more peaceful sleep. The bunk looking all the more inviting, I threw myself into it and the welcome arms of Morpheus, at least until the next alarm went off.

We continued offshore until first light, about six o’clock, and tacked back inshore. At midday we were a mile or so off the beach, just south of Cape Hawke, so now we have tacked out to sea again. Progress is slow but steady, and, most importantly, for the most part it has been very pleasant sailing. The sun is shining and it is relatively warm – T-shirt and shorts weather even. This evening the westerlies will arrive so I expect tomorrow’s run should look a little better than the last twenty four hours.

These waters are the familiar stomping grounds of an earlier life, a time when I was more naïve, and therefore more at peace and happier with the world then I am now. As I pass each familiar landmark I find fond memories flooding back, which I look at and turn over in my mind. In doing so I find that there is sadness in my heart, that things could not now be different, but I am pleased that I find no bitterness there. I conclude that life is very good.

All is well.