When the Donkey Failed Us

Thu 1 Oct 2020 00:38

18:57.50S 103:03.87E


When the Donkey Failed Us

This morning, 30th Sept, we finally, after 9 days, turned west towards our destination. We have 2768 miles to go, say it quickly and it doesn’t seem so far! We still have the pesky current taking away some of our progress but we are doing a gentle 5 knots over the ground so that will have to be good enough. The sea sometimes has Zoonie rolling gunwale to gunwale which shocks the wind out of the genoa, which then in turn takes a while to recover, so we have rigged the pole on the leeward side to support the sail.

It didn’t go all to plan!

With the downhaul lines attached and ready to lower it Rob suddenly exclaimed, “Oh no, look at that, it’s come off its pin,” commonly named after the part of a male donkey’s anatomy that ensures their perpetuation and starts with ‘D’.

So Rob was holding the pole in one hand and clinging on for dear life with the other. I dashed to help and held hold the pole as tight as I could in to the mast.

“So we need to guide it down over the foredeck and turn it round,” Rob said confidently, “but first could I have my hand back?” It was squeezed between to pole and the mast, neither of us wanted to lose the pole overboard.

I walked forward with the pole until I was crouched on the rolling foredeck holding this cumbersome ‘baby’ in my arms. “Just got to get a screwdriver to tighten the screw holding the pole in to the clip on the DD.” So there I was, nursing this heavyweight child, sitting on the lively foredeck in the tropical heat somewhere a few hundred miles off the NW Australian coast; I can think of worse places to be.

All is well now and Zoons is sliding along, with a gentle roll in light airs. We can still reef the genoa while it is on the pole because the sheet passes through the clip at the outer end, so with the blow we are expecting, with the accompanying seas, we will need to keep power on to pull her out of troughs in the water.

Well I think we have caught hold of the elephant’s tail and are now climbing along its back. Bring on the slide down its trunk. Two more days and we will be a third the way there.

I made a big lasagne before I left and we have two more suppers to come out of it. I think it will have made 8 suppers, accompanied with sprouts or salad or sweetcorn, tomato or coleslaw. I put two portions of the lasagne in the double saucepan steamer along with the accompaniment. Then we have sundowners while it is steaming. Yum; but we are ready for a change!

We now have music playing away gently all day as, along with Zoonie’s naturally peaceful saloon, it helps keep our minds relaxed and there is something very uplifting about singing along to one’s favourites; which are most of our library of music.

We certainly know we are back in the tropics; from sleeping in our leggings around from Albany to Freo, we are now plenty warm enough just in our cotton sleeping bag liners. During a calm spell Rob put 66 litres of our fuel into the main tank from the cans; that is what we used trying to beat the current as we moved northwards with only a light breeze astern. Were we glad when we could turn off the engine. That was equivalent to 44 hours of our 290 hours motoring range.

We were just relaxing after a scrambled egg brecky one day when Rob said, “Barb, there’s a split along the mainsail seam beneath the logo.” Here we go again, I thought. So we lowered the sail and used some sticky backed sail cloth strips on both sides of the offending seam, in two places. Makes us wonder if it would be better to have vertical seams on an in mast furling sail rather than horizontal; the present ones suffer chafe as we all know.

It’s a bit like hovering outside the oven door to see if the new recipe is properly cooked, this waiting to know when is best to turn left for the crossing. Looking at Jimmy Cornell’s Ocean Atlas we saw we should get current from the east around 18 degrees south, but they are still a little further west, so we are chasing after them.

Three other yachts are out there somewhere. They left Lombok just east of Bali so they will be on a course to our north for the crossing and maybe we will meet them there.

Before we changed course this morning I wrote in my notes that we were sailing along the circumference of a circle the centre of which is Reunion, barely reducing our mileage to the west. The radius of the circle was 2777 miles and now we are sailing down that radius.


Ist October 2020 – a beautiful night; sometimes Zoonie hissed along as if the friction of her hull was causing the water to boil, but gradually the wind has dropped and now our progress is somewhere between 3.5 and 5.2 knots. The moon was full and shining bright and there were two identical satellites, both equally brilliant, slanting at the same angle, similar in size and shape and about 60 degrees apart. The space station had me wondering who is up there at the moment, like us, escaping Covid restrictions. It’s amazing the volume of ‘stuff’ we see in the sky now that is human in origin.

I am presently reading something like ten books, some I have read before like ‘The Old Man and The Sea’ And Khalil Gibran’s ‘The prophet’ and also lots of new ones about indigenous authors re-writing global history, culture, art and aesthetics to include their pre-history and history and the history of mankind since before colonialism up to date. All the authors have recently been interviewed on ABC Radio in Aussie and I have been wanting their stories for ages. One of them is about the North American Indian world since Wounded Knee and I read ‘Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee’ for the first time when I was in my twenties.

Then there’s Quentin Letts stance on English society and government and I agree with so much of what he says about the dumbing down of my lovely country. Plus a little bit of psychology with ‘The Inner Self’; somewhat similar in its essence to ‘The Prophet’.

Tonight is the last of the vegan lasagne and I am preparing a vegan cottage pie for the weekend and the promised blow that is coming.

As Santiago said in ‘The Old Man and The Sea;’  ‘The Wind is our Friend just like the Sea, sometimes.’ Have a good day.