Below in a Blow

Last night was a marvelous night for Moondance.  The stellar conditions of 25-30 knots from the SW continued, and we were broad reaching, surfing the waves, having a joyous time.  The importance of wind direction cannot be overstated.  If we were beating towards the wind life on board would be miserable.

But even a broad reach can get rough.  Wind over water creates waves.  The double reef shrinks down the main sail by another 25-30%, which keeps the boat under control in the windy conditions.  We are broad reaching now at 10 knots under double reefed main, which means we have enough wind to push the boat at hull speed even with a smaller sail.  And yes, we clip on (attach by harness and tether to the boat while on deck) during any reef: single, double, or triple.  Our waves are not big by ocean standards, just regular waves.

Waves mixed with current get confused and come erratically from all directions.  So life belowdecks gets interesting.  It is as if the boat were in a snow globe in the hands of a menacing three-year old, who occasionally gives it an unexpected shake.  This typically happens when you are trying to pee.  The boat also cants at 10-25 degrees and somehow gravity is doubled.  I once read of a cruising couple who ended their journey toned and fit, a product of the constant isometrics of just moving about.

Nausea returned today at 2-3 on the Matt scale (1-10, 10 being really bad) for some of the crew.  The hot afternoon sun drove me below, where things are stuffy and shut up tight because sno-globe kid also throws giant buckets of saltwater on the decks.  The saltwater we do not want inside, as cotton drenched with saltwater will never dry.  The salt has a party and keeps inviting moisture.

In any event my nausea is back down to .5.  I am firmly wedged in my bunk with double gravity holding me in place.  I am having the thrill of my life and wouldn’t trade places for anything.  But I thought you should know, in case you ever consider a trip such as this.

I am encouraging other crew to post so you can hear from them.  I am not sure I really understand blogging.  I think it is supposed to be short and two-way, which this isn’t.  But I read and enjoy every single comment, so thanks.

The wave surfing Tom wrote of so eloquently was stupendous, thrilling.  He is a brilliant economics teacher, and as such knows a good story with numbers close enough gets the point across.  I, like Matt and Mary, am an engineer at heart, so I must set the record straight on the record: 18.7 knots.

You should have seen Jackie last night in the galley.  The aforementioned conditions tend to randomly throw things out of the drying rack and dish cabinet, as they are located on the uphill side of the galley.  We were chatting when she suddenly lunged to her right and caught a falling scrub brush, by its handle.  Moments later she was drying and stowing plates when the kid gave a shake and three plates came out.  She caught ’em all, one two three, and flashed that Jackie grin.

Kudos to Dana for (1) noticing the errant pull of the second reef and (2) teaching me, finally, how to properly steer in heavy following seas.  Nice to have talented sailors on board.

Hot off the presses, Bill just told me his best guess for arrival in Horta, the Azores, is a week from tomorrow.  Glad the watermaker is working so well!

Rest well and don’t worry.



10 thoughts on “Below in a Blow

  1. Hugs to Jackie for her skills, she is such a good sailor. It helps that you and your crew are so positive and cheerful. It is super you are having such good conditions. I’m thanking God and asking for more of the same. May you soak in every moment and fully feel the joy!❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Michael I’m enjoying all the beautiful pics of the ocean, brings back a lot of memories. You guys are lucky enough to enjoy the cruise of your life to date. Top my record, 46 days not touching land, well, maybe next year. Glad all mechanical stuff is working and keep the pics coming. Jimmy Q.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Michael, my brother, blog on in your own beautiful way…may you never discover the “right way.” Your eloquent, simple yet breathtakingly descriptive portraits place us almost alongside you all. Thank you, and Godspeed to each of you.
    Mike Pugh, making his “maiden” blog 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jackie the juggler. We all appreciate these snippets of life on board. For those interested..NBA finals (GS and Clev) tied at 2 games a piece. Sunday night in Cal. Who isn’t cheering for Cleveland? Have fun!


  5. Way to go Jackie!! This trip and blog are amazing – thank u for sharing!!! Have a great rest of the day – ur making great time 😉


  6. Thanks Michael for the update of yesterday. Even though you know what kind of sailor I am , Mary and I feel like we are part your adventure . We hope the food is as good as looked while she was making it. But obviously her kitchen skills go way beyond cooking. The pictures are really cool and we look forward to hearing about today.
    Thanks and keep up the good work.


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