The offshore sailor’s dilemma

No I’m not talking about whether one eats fish & chips with vinegar (who does that) or tartar sauce (now we’re talking), rather what to do when conditions are borderline for your current sail plan. You know you could be faster with a bigger sail (or smaller) but you also know that conditions will change or gusts will be too much for your bigger sail. That’s a bit of what’s on my mind now. The small spinnaker is, well, small in the lulls, and just fine when wind picks up a bit. The big spinnaker would be great in the lulls but a bit too much in the gusts. There’s no good way out (that I know of), it’s all a compromise: protect equipment/be slower, wear equipment/be faster, maybe. And so, as Tom P says (thanks for helping with the batteries/Watt & Sea questions), it’s not a sprint! The small spinnaker is up, the small spinnaker stays up, hail to the small spinnaker! Greedy boat speed hoarder should relax and write a blog post!

Not a sprint?

I started thinking about this project in early 2018, while preparing for the SHTP. It’s 2.5 years old. All the mental energy was spent on getting ready, within budget (GFM update: thank you to three more donors to SF2SF: Raziel, Kiril, Ants; thank you, thank you!). At some point I cut the lines (no we didn’t really cut them; they’re with me here coz’, you know, I’ll be back), slipped under the Golden Gate Bridge, then again (I saw the picture Latitude 38 published of CaB setting off into the Pacific, that gave me goose bumps; also saw pictures of Luna and Joelle, and that made me long for a hug) and voilà! Changabang is sailing around the world (well, it’s really just around Marie for now). I can feel that all the what if questions that accumulated are now dissipating. It’s stressful to think about what to do if the boat sinks, to mentally rehearse for what could be done. This void is being filled by what I prepared for: a marathon sailing adventure. Six months or so of bumping over waves and enjoying the infinite pleasure of a sailboat harvesting the wind to go on and explore. Be an adventure. And as my French connection says: “Le succès du tour du monde est de tenir dans la durée”. Singer Gary White’d call it staying power, right? Not a sprint.

Random items

I’ll see if I can manage some numbers to put things in perspective as we move along. Here’s one: after 5 x 24 hours of sailing, considering a straight line course to where I was Monday 13:15 PST, we had a speed average of 8.2 kts. I’ll tell you something: it will go down 🙂 A medium size flying fish was sitting in the seat by the companion way; very still, he must have been contemplating the meaning of death. If you’re new to this blog, know that it started before I left, i.e. there’s a lot of reading material, if you care.

An attitude of gratitude

Hey, if you helped and I don’t mention you, it’s because it may come later. Skip! Man, where would this sailor be without Skip. He was my coach for the SHTP, became a friend, and when time permits he continues to share his wondrous experience and expertise. Check out his thread on the SSS (Singlehanded sailing society) forum if you have not. Very thankful to Rob T for having put me in touch with Skip. Thank you Skip for being so generous with your time. I wouldn’t be the same person without you. A light in the dark you are! Jackie! Or as Cree of BMC says: where would the sailing community be with you? She donated CaB’s pharmacy kit, put me in touch with Cree, offered me rides on her boat, nudged me when I needed to, and I would not have a boat card without her. Merci! Brian, of Pelagic autopilot, once again as he did during the months leading to the SHTP, offered his gear, expertise, and would always answer the phone when I called. Call him if you need an autopilot and don’t want to spend ten grands!

What’s next?

Well, try and get into a band of strong trade winds to get to Torres Strait, and figure out where to cross the doldrums. Stay healthy and feed that greedy bost speed hoarder! I said that I wasn’t committed until I am a 1,000 miles from land. Check, 1,150 and counting. I also said I wasn’t truly committed until I passed Torres Strait, because, you know, after that a U-turn is not really an option (not that it’s a great option now either). Onward!

Author: Skipper

Wannabe circumnavigator.

Leave a Reply

Verified by MonsterInsights