Looking Out

Tue 23 Mar 2021 07:20

Looking Out

During the day I stand on the saloon seats to watch our watery world speeding by; yesterday Zoonie was skimming along on a smooth, gently curving skateboard sea, and every few minutes I view the scene from the cockpit and over the sprayhood; but at night the area of the companionway is my lookout post. Standing on the bottom step, clinging on for dear life, I can see to the horizon if it is even vaguely visible in the gloom, as it is now the moon is waxing.

Are there any lights, near or far? That is the question. Go one step up the ladder and careful not to bang my head on the sliding hatch cover, it wouldn’t be the first time, I can see forward through the big windows either side of the mast and cover the whole area as Zoonie obligingly sways from side to side. Through the transparent companionway wash boards, the horizon astern is in view and often reveals ships moving out to overtake us, but not of late.

Last night in my lookout position, one elbow resting on the step, I worked out that with only her genoa out and pulling, if a gust were to get the wrong side of it and push her off course she wouldn’t go far because the sail is in front of the mast, and the next gust would push her back again, whereas wind power in the mainsail could push her sideways on to the waves into a broach position; not that I’m worried at the moment because the waves are not big enough to do her any harm, and the main is tucked safely into the mast anyway. I find it reassuring to work things out, to understand what is going on, even if I need correction later on.

Shearwater and petrels are with us, checking our wake for disturbed fish, two of which landed on board a couple of nights ago. Yesterday I went into the foc’sle to ready the Diva for her appearance up through the hatch and onto her stage, when I was met with a strong smell of fish. Rob said knowingly “I reckon its in the bag,” and he was right, as we rummaged through the folds of her dressing gown, right at the bottom was a very dry, dying flying fish, (actually it was well dead but I liked the assonance and contradiction) busy shedding its scales. The other one was in the scuppers and both were too far gone for the pot. It must have fallen into the open bag while the Diva was performing the night before.This night that is barely gone we were keeping a special lookout for Jori as she is just a few miles away from us, and a close encounter would be very embarrassing.

At the changeover onto my watch at 5.00am we snuffed the Diva as the wind was picking up and the genoa is back in business. The Diva because she is attached with soft ropes and can swing with the wind and waves, always gives Zoonie a smooth ride, like a mother’s hand on her baby’s cradle, and we have both had a number of very peaceful hours sleep as a result. It’s bliss, how much better one feels out of the oceanic washing machine.

Just 532 miles to go at around 130 per day, enjoy the maths.