Sunday, 11:00 am, 310 miles from Sotogrande

Well, Dana jinxed us with his comment about sailing to weather.  We are close-hauled with a double reefed main, heeled over and banging through waves.  The bow is playing “over, under” with the bigger waves.  This is not dangerous, it’s not really very windy (22 knots), but it is more than a tad unpleasant. You just want to find a spot on the low side and sit.  Yesterday I took to calling Liz “low side Liz”.  Not really fair, as her intrepid spirit would put most of us to shame, but she had one of those days where lethargy attacks. Our beautiful Moondance has even started dripping saltwater from the main hatch when the more persistent waves wash across her.  The winds are from the NE, and we are going East.  We are hoping for them to clock to the North. The seas built overnight and the waves are running 8-12 feet. Jackie wants us to bear off, which would be fine if we wanted to go to Morocco.  Oh well, every good port is earned.

You may notice on the chart that Portugal juts out Westward from Spain and creates an overhang for those traveling to her south.  We are 130 miles away from being in the lee of that overhang and hope to see calmer seas at that point. Otherwise, we are pressing on.

If you are not a sailor and go for a ride on someone’s sailboat, the worst part is the lingo.  As all of my kids know, there are no ropes on a boat; only  “lines” with various names.  “Sheets” make sails go in and out and “halyards” are used to raise and lower them.  This vernacular is not designed for trickery or to make sailors feel superior, but to avoid, in a pinch, having to yell “not THAT rope, the OTHER rope.”  Anyway, one of the many things I learned from my patient and wonderful wife is that you should endeavor to determine, as soon as you get on the boat, the direction from whence the wind is blowing.  This is because sailors will direct you to steer relative to the wind direction, as in “head up” or “bear off”.  One time Mary flatly refused to change direction, despite a growing urgency for her to do so, until I abandoned the lingo and simply said “go left a little bit”. It turns out she did not know where the wind was coming from, a point that still befuddles me, as to me that is as natural as breathing.  On a related note, I needed to quickly learn not to “bark” orders at my family crew, or any crew for that matter.  They are on the boat because I want them there, with me, so I should at least be polite.  This rule has led to some comic relief, as in “Sweetheart, dearest, if it is not too much trouble, and only if it is utterly convenient, could you kindly unravel and ease that pretty red and white line from the winch right there, so that I may bear off, or turn to the right a wee bit, so as to avoid us being run over by the Steamship Ferry in about 15 seconds? Thank you so much.”

Time for my noon watch.  Love to all.



17 thoughts on “Sunday, 11:00 am, 310 miles from Sotogrande

  1. Ok that one competes for funniest post! I’m sure Mary and the kids have their own versions from past Johnson family sailing trips. Hope that the lee of the overhang comes soon for you guys.


  2. Laughing out loud while reading thiis to Martin. Frankly, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the way you requested “going left a bit” or preceding any other directive with “sweetheart, dearest, if not too much trouble”. We face the same obstacles in racing our small boat, although my husband rarely resorted to that charming address. Maybe he will after this sage advice. 🙂
    Happy Sunday! Continue to be thinking of you all! xo

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Good job blogging this in rough seas!! I’m impressed and thankful to hear from you. It’s good that even though the seas are rough the captain is calm.❤️
    Love and prayers.Marianne


  4. No matter what the conditions, your humor will keep spirits high. On a scale of 1 – 10 you rate 10 +++ as skipper and blogger!! Do hope conditions ease a bit — Enough challenges. Can understand Liz’s lethargy – – We’re all feeling it a bit as we wait to celebrate Moondance sailing into port at Sotogrande. Love to all!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I told my daughter Tammy Thursday night that when you guys get within two days of land the seas get a little ugly over there. The good thing, only two days before your on land. Good luck and God Bless.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great lesson for all men who want their women to sail with them, mine included. Literally LOL. High winds here on Cape Cod so no sailing today as I do not have the stomach for seas more than 2-4, And that’s pushing it! So very proud of my Liz. A very accomplished Dinghy sailor, she was not a big-boat sailor until a few years ago. Her reasoning: big boats do not pass the “Tippy Test.” I can see her smiling, as she always is, but presume she is anxious for calmer seas. I particularly love the photo of her self reefing. I’m sending happy thoughts and hugs and will stay close to the blog today while you sail through the rough course and onto your final port. Enjoy the final hours of your lifetime adventure. We will continue to pray you to a safe landing at your own homeports. Mom hugs to all!


  7. Michael, you made me laugh even thinking of you all in rough seas. I never could get past the “apparent wind” but you and all your kids can read the wind perfectly.

    Jackie, learn from me. First, ask to ‘heave to’ so that you can cook, which they think is ridiculous. They will then spontaneously offer to bear off (wink).

    Hope the seas calm soon, and your last days on the water are splendid! Love you, miss you xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    • ARRGHHHH. I knew you were smarter than me all these years, that’s why I love you. Jackie got the biggest ever kick out of your advice. She thinks the plan is brilliant. She said “funniest thing I have read all week”. Love you.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Haha! great post. Sorry for the close hauled course, at least you’re not beating! And still making good time and laying the straight. I imagine Liz is not the only one a bit tired by now.
    Clever advice to Liz by Mary 😉
    Looking like early Tuesday in port?
    BTW, whatever device is reporting your position to the tracker has started reporting ‘Low Battery’ ass of about 4 hours ago (4PM Europe time?)


    • Thanks for the tracker warning. I take responsibility and accept the new moniker, though let’s keep it clean out there. We were charging it but the charger got dislodged in the melee. Back up, and we are glad you are paying attention. Tuesday early should arrive in port. We are sailing leisurely now, have a mild preference to arrive after daybreak on Tuesday.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Did not understand much of today’s post – But would love to have seen pictures of the sea

    God’s speed


  10. All great journeys have to have a patch or two of struggle that make you know in the end that you truly you earned it! Still I stopped and prayed for the crew and my sweet niece Liz! Hope you get to spend some time in Spain on land for it is lovely! I don’t quite get why they serve the shrimp there the way they do. When you order it on the menu they leave it whole with all its whiskers! So I stopped eating shrimp in Spain! And everywhere else for a little while after that! Lol!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Hi crew. My first entry on your wonderful blog. I am one of Cam’s non-sailing uncles. MJ, your 6/28 blog was hilarious and educational for the non-sailor. Not only being married to a sailor, but having spent many hours with sailors, I was never given as much info about the “sport” as you gave me in this entry. I once sailed with Cam’s grandfather (God rest his soul) who yelled at me from the minute I got on the boat until we finally crossed the finish line (not in last place mind you)!!! So I feel for your wife. Anyway, love the pictures and stories.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Glad everyone is in great spirits and laughter abounds at the end of your journey. May you truly feel every breath of wind and spray of the sea until you land in less than 24 hours! Wow!!!


  13. … just continue to love reading (and re-reading)the blog posts, comments, and subsequent replies! … great sense of humor! Sorry my ‘Happy Sunday’ wishes didn’t translate to happy sailing conditions. But, again, you still managed to find the humor in things and make us laugh … I’m sure your crew too. Laughter really can be the best medicine! 🙂


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