We have sailed into the depths of the high and are motoring through it now.
The sea is flatter than piss on a plate and you could shave, excuse me I DID
shave in its glassy surface. The wind has, as expected, departed and should
fill in from the North/Northwest sometime tomorrow for the final beamy
charge home. We all took this opportunity of placid calm weather to have a
much anticipated swim-grid shower, which was rejuvenating beyond description
and likely critical for the continued health of this vessel!
We had been sailing with our BIG (1200 square foot) Kevlar Code Zero sail
(somewhere in between a flying Genoa and asymmetrical spinnaker) and really
starting to appreciate the magic of this thing. In 5.5 knots of wind we were
doing close to 7 knots! The monstrous canvas just capitalizes on the
faintest zephyrs of wind and pulls the boat forward – beautiful stuff. We
proceeded to sail into the most tranquil and breath-taking night of this
leg… A combination of flat-calm water, just enough wind, and midnight
cosmos that would have made Galileo’s eyes water made for a lovely watch. I
traced the constellations with the nautical almanac and star chart
identifying 20 odd stars and planets including Jupiter. Upon seeing the
first taste of the coming sunrise at about 3am though it was decided to put
the clocks forward immediately- this was strategically executed at 2 o’clock
this afternoon to land us prematurely on happy hour!
Before all this however we had not one but TWO ships cross our bow last
night! That’s 3 since I talked about how “rare” it is, and 5 since we left
Hawaii; not including the fleet of invisible fishing boats that we sailed
through just north of Kaua’i. All have been merchant vessels and all
Westbound. One just passed harmlessly ahead of us at 3 miles and doing 25
knots but the other snuck up while the guy on watch was below. Upon going up
to check the radar he was surprised to see a massive container ship, fully
lit up and STATIONARY right ahead not 1/8th of a mile distant!!! We
scrambled to alter course and I called on the radio. The officer said he had
seen us from 4 miles away and had lit up the deck to help warn us which was
nice but what a scare. We are checking the radar every 10-15 minutes at
night now; must be in a shipping lane. It’s hard to describe how strange and
exciting it is to encounter a vessel out here, particularly at night, in the
middle of the ocean. Every officer I have talked to so far has been Russian
and very friendly. Great stuff.
Anyways I also climbed the mast to inspect/lube/ and prep the rig for the
20+ knots we expect hard on the beam for the next 3 days starting tomorrow.
Things can fail so fast out here with the CONSTANT use we have to be so
diligent in our inspections… but I baked butterscotch cookies so it’s all good!