Saturday, May 14, 2011

A Long Day

May 14th, 2011

A Long Day

I made pancakes for breakfast today around 8:00 AM, after breakfast Owen went to bed. The winds are very light this morning. Monte, our wind vane, drives most of the time yet we still have our hands full. When Owen got up (11:30 AM), we changed our sails from 'sailing through a gale' to 'sailing in trade winds.' We dropped the storm sail (on our inner stay), shook out the reefs in the main (we had had two reefs in) and unfurled the head sail fully (a large 130% genoa).  Now we had lots of sail out. We were plugging away at 5-6 knots - this would be our 1st big distance day. It felt good to be moving with some speed through the water and with the pitch and roll leveled out, it was a much more comfortable ride. It also changed the heel dramatically - this would be a new angle to live by. 
Monte (the monitor wind vane) and Betty (a character I perform) are not getting along today. Betty wants to hang laundry all over the steering wheel, "It's so close to the galley - easy to reach." Monte is having a fit - doesn't want to work at all. We have had to separate them - Betty in the bow and Monte in the stern (the cockpit). I wonder why they call it a cockpit?  We think Monte must have suffered some trauma with his previous captain - all he wants to do is steer the boat. He won't even talk. And the higher the wind, the better he steers. He does well under stress if not in social situations. Maybe he's autistic, he certainly has tunnel vision. But I'm glad he is part of our crew. He works very hard and so far hasn't needed even a single break. And he doesn't eat! (nor relieve himself). He just drives. Betty is busy trying to cook at an angle. 
"What is for lunch Betty?" I ask.  
"Sandwiches from hell" she responds.  
"What's in them Betty?"
"All kinds of shit!"
"That sounds awful."
"You don't have to eat."
"But I'm hungry. I'm hungry. I'm hungry!"
"Don't repeat yourself dear."
After a late lunch, I was tired - a nap for me would need to be added to the schedule. I woke up around 5 PM craving a chicken casserole, so I started looking through the Joy of Cooking. The winds were picking up - Owen called me up to the cockpit. You live by the wind on a sail boat and it dictates your every move. So instead of making dinner I was struggling to get the head sail in quick enough (so it wouldn't burst a seam).  Owen wanted to get the storm sail up before we lost the light - so he went forward. He discovered an ugly knot in the sail bag. When our captain is "frustrated" he uses 'captain's words'. They were flowing freely as he tried to work the knot out while perched precariously in a bouncy bow. Around then Griffyn vomited all over the starboard settee. He completely missed the bucket. Owen already upset by mounting winds tying lines into knots, rushes down to help clean up the slimy stench of vomit off a large section of our dining room. In a small boat a large section of it is where you live - the dining room / living room / class room  - and it smelled. We both worked frantically to get it off the carpet, the upholstry and the pillows. The light was fading. Owen went back up on deck to find a halliard had wrapped itself around the spreader. I cleaned below while he swore above. Then I went up forward to help him. It was slippery. We raised the storm sail and then reefed the main. It was now 7 PM, I went down and served a couple quick chicken cassadias via the microwave. Griffyn fell asleep.
In the galley, I had discovered a spot under the stove that had collected water (a couple of days back when we shipped all that water in the galley.) I removed the dripping boxes (of aluminum foil, waxed paper, ziplock bags, plastic wrap) and wet pans from underneath the stove so that I could sop up the puddle. It was becoming harder and harder to find anything dry enough to soak up water. The only thing we had managed to dry out since the storms off Cape Falso was a brown fleece sleeping bag. Everything cotton stayed damp or worse - wet! Cotton wouldn't even dry out hung on the life lines in the heat of the day - it was still to humid above that huge expanse of salted water. If we left the hatch open at night (for air circulation - all the ports were closed) by morning the galley floor was wet. Tonight we would close the hatch. It had rained so much during the first couple of days at sea that we found all of the leaky spots on the boat. And the worst leak came through the hatch above the v-berth. It leaked profusely. We were all too sea sick to do much other than sop it up. Now after it had stopped raining we were left with piles of wet towels, rags, sheets, pillows, a comforter and even the v-berth mattress, not to mention the foul weather gear and our layers of cold weather clothes. 
It was nearing my bed time and tonight I needed a different space to sleep. Griffyn was asleep in the quarter berth. I told Tamsyn she would sleep in there with him and I laid down on the port settee. The port settee is narrow and has a lee cloth - I felt confined. Tomorrow night I'll reclaim the quarter berth (sans Griffyn). The kids can share the port settee. I need to rid the Q berth of cracker crumbs. Griffyn is definitely in a growth spurt - he's eating more then Tamsyn. When I take him to the head at night, he's "starving" so I gave him crackers - hence the crumbs in bed.
Thus far I like sailing. I love the water even though it scares me at times. I love the view - 360 degrees of glittering rolling waves. I love the peace and quiet (well there is the sound of waves and wind constantly - but it is very peaceful when the only human interruptions come from inside the boat.) And I love going somewhere.


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