Highs and Lows

One thing I can say about this whole voyaging thing: just when you start saying things like “best passage ever!” Or “man, I could keep this up for a month easily!” the gods of cruising over hear you and take a meeting about your seeming complacency. The cruising gods, including but not limited to winds and waves, do not like to be taken for granted and so they decide you have had enough of the good times and they offer you a choice of different sufferings.

In our case we started with about a week of intense and beautiful fast tradewinds sailing. I tell you what, those are the days dreams are made of. Then we got a few days of flat seas and making way under spinnaker, still really dreamy conditions that allowed us to do simple things like sleep and bake bread and view that magnificent Neowise Comet, streaking across the night sky.

Now we have begun to make our way east toward the coast, still over 1300 miles away. The Pacific high we have been skirting continues to morph and move around, but predictably, as the winds move around the high in a clockwise direction, now that we are making a turn east the winds are directly behind us. This wouldn’t be so bad except the seas are fairly big for such light winds, about 3-5 feet. So to sail comfortably we would need to sail due east almost, keeping the waves at an angle to our stern rather than directly behind us. Doing that would certainly be a bad idea as it would sail us right into the middle of the high pressure area and there we would sit. No bueno, as we say.

So our choices of suffering are thusly: suffer through sailing slowly downwind and rolling back and forth, but still making way and in the right direction, or turn on the engine and power north.

Most people probably would turn on the engine. And honestly that’s usually what we would do. But where is the challenge in that? Where is the learning in that? So far on this passage we haven’t used our engine to make way. Not only does that give us a feeling of great satisfaction, it has offered us opportunities for deep learning as sailors. We have learned so much about our boat and our sail systems and what needs improving that using the engine feels like it would be a missed opportunity. So we choose for now to suffer through the rolling, although this morning, after a second sleepless night for us both, crew moral was to a point where I might have agreed had Mike suggested we throw in the towel. I am so glad I have a sailing partner who doesn’t give up easily. When I am feeling weak he stays the course. When he is feeling discouraged I try to stay the course for him. We are still under sail, still under way, and going in the right direction. Take that, cruising god’s!

With well over 1000 miles to miles to go there is still plenty of opportunity for us to get too tired to care, or for conditions to deteriorate to the point where it’s just stupid not to use the engine. After all, a good engine is a necessary piece of safety equipment. But we are in no real hurry. A few days here or there isn’t a big deal at this point. We can afford the luxury of sailing slowly. After all, how often in life do you get an absolutely front row seat for viewing a comet, night after night?

Sent from Iridium Mail & Web.

2 thoughts on “Highs and Lows

  1. We still haven’t gotten the chance to see Comet Neowise, here Tacoma.

    It appears that you, Melissa are writing this blog, it says that it is from Michael?

    Safe sailing.

  2. You are a great team and complement each other’s moods. We love to sail even if the wind is light. It is so nice to ‘hear’ what is around you and not have to talk over the engine. Only use it when really necessary.
    Smooth sailing to you both

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