Day Twenty - A Soldier's Breeze

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Mon 3 Jan 2022 00:30
Noon Position: 46 52.4 S 177 29.0 E
Course: E Speed: 6 knots
Wind: N, F4 Sea: slight
Swell: WSW, 2 meters
Weather: sunny, mild
Day's Run: 150 nm

For the last 24 hours we have been beam reaching to a soldier's breeze, so called because even a soldier could sail it. Indeed, I have not had to touch a thing for the past day, apart from tweaking a few lines here and there, mainly to freshen the nip so as to reduce points of chafe.
Things have been so quiet I have broken out the sextant for something to do. I completed a standard 'morning sun-meridian passage-afternoon sun' and in the evening attempted a set of stars. As usual I worked out evening civil twilight and calculated the predicted positions of the relevant heavenly bodies but didn't allow for the length of twilight this far south. Sirius, as bright as a planet, shone forth in the darkening NE sky, Jupiter hung low and bright in the east, Canopus could also be clearly seen but was obscured behind the sails, and some time later Rigel eventually appeared, also in the NE quadrant. I duly observed the altitude of the two stars and the planet that weren't obscured by the sails and waited for some more to appear. But the sky remained bright, especially to the east for what seemed an age. The radio sked would be coming up in about an hour and I wanted to reduce and plot my sights before then, so I contented myself with only the three (and not a good a intersection at that), but I figured it would suffice to help keep the a hand in.
And indeed I was pleasantly surprised how readily the various tables and calculations came back to me such that I soon had a reasonable fix plotted which appeared to correlate pretty well with where the omniscient GPS said we were, and with time to spare before the radio sked.
The radio skeds are also going well. Each night both Wayne (our shore connection) and Mark have been coming in mostly loud and clear. Wayne has provided Mark and me with valuable weather information and the odd snippet of news, and I am sure the regular chat time is an excellent balm for one's mental well-being, at least speaking for myself.
In addition to keeping the celestial eye in, I fill my time with boat chores - still adding a few more cones to the series drogue, cooking and reading, and I have even broken out the flute - definitely best played whilst sailing solo a very long way from land.

All is well.