Saturday, January 15, 2005
Report from the forepeak - The Washing One-step & Sky Buffalo
We passed the 1000-mile-to-go mark today, also the 45th meridian. The 50th
meridian of longitude marks the beginning of the Caribbean Sea. The weather
has been squally. We had, so I'm told, a heavy rain this morning between
08:00 and 10:00 while I was sleeping following my 2:00-8:00 watch. I was
sorry to have missed the chance to be on deck during a daylight rainstorm.
This weather - very warm to uncomfortably hot at around 99% humidity
whenever the sun is out - started to remind me of Pennsylvania and Delaware
in the summer, with a storm brewing. You just wanted it to start raining so
you could go out and play in it - making little dams and bridges over brand
new little rivers, squishing mud between your toes, feeling the fat drops
cooling your sticky, sweaty skin, watching little "people" pop up out of
puddles wherever a drop landed, smelling the deliciously charged freshwater
air, tasting it running into your mouth over your upper lip.
It occurred to me that I could hang up my laundry and let the rain wash and
rinse it for me, and then it'll be pre-hung so the sun can dry it. So I hung
up my stuff on the after deck, and lo - no rain all day. Even though there
was a steady supply of rain clouds, and I could tell that some of the
distant ones were dumping rain, all we got were a very few scattered
sprinkles, not even enough to make me put my book down, which I was reading
on deck in a deliberately provocative sort of way. Well, it ain't over yet.
I'm leaving that laundry right where it is, by golly.
That was yesterday, though. The rain finally came in the night, with
repeated heavy squalls making us shut all hatches and sleep in a warm, damp,
dark place, like mushroom spores. And the laundry, although it might have
benefited by a soak and some scrubbing in a soapy solution, smells fresh
and clean, and is folded and stowed. I wonder if there's a way to market
this? One-Step Washing. Hmm.
A couple days later (less than 500 miles to go!) - we've been traveling
west in the company of a migrating herd of rain clouds, like fluffy buffalo.
They seem mostly benign and uninterested. When they pass directly overhead
they each bring their own wind and we scramble to reef in the jib. The main
is already running triple-reefed, in case of a sudden strong blow, which
hasn't quite happened yet. We seem to be at the southern edge of the herd,
but we hear from other boats both farther north and farther east than us
that they've had 35 knot winds. Looks like this might be our escort into
Tobago. Our speed has been very good - we're averaging nearly 170 nautical
miles/day, made good to our destination. Check our course online at
http://www.intermar-ev.de/. The ship's call sign is AC6IH.
Have I mentioned that Pangaea performs like a thoroughbred? She's a real
lady downwind, even under self-steering. When we do our job well with sail
trim, and the sea is not too confused, we sometimes feel like we're riding a
big powerful animal that knows its territory intimately. Sometimes she feels
like a racehorse, sometimes like a train, sometimes like an elephant,
sometimes like a Porsche, flat out in a curve.
More to Come!