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Friday, March 02, 2012

March 2, 2012-Looking Lighter Laura

"It's looking lighter Laura." By which I informed my relief what to expect in the weather for the next couple of hours.

For the crew of Wings this passage is turning out to be one of simply standing our watches and not much else. We've jibed a couple of times but we haven't even had any sail changes since we set the genoa and main upon departing Saint Helena, other than six hours one day when we had the kite up, which besides being a lot of trouble and requiring significant attention, rewarded us with an whopping extra 10 miles that day, so we haven't repeated that. The wind has been steady and for the most part, reliable.

Even the watch schedule itself is easy: we each stand three watches a day of two hours, and the rest of the day we laze around reading or sleeping. Sometimes something needs to be fixed, and, of course, there is cooking and washing up to do. We share these tasks. Every 4th day is shower day which we welcome.

Looking Lighter Laura.

My watches, especially the night ones, have been pleasant. Each night when I come up for my dog watch (10:00PM to 12:00AM) the first thing I see is the Southern Cross. How many years I have loved to see that constellation and how many times I have been frustrated by clouds and rarely able to find it? But now it is laid right out over our stern and I can't miss it. It is beautiful. Then I turn forward and see the moon. We are running before the Southern Cross and towards the bright, setting, moon. The moon beams on the waves make a road for us to follow. My two hours pass quickly and then I do a log book entry and wake Laura (She, in turn, calls Randy, Randy calls Judy, Judy calls me again, six hours later). I might give Laura a brief report, like, "It's looking lighter Laura." She says "OK". And then she takes over and I go to bed. Last night I told her I was saving some moon for her (Up till now it has been setting by the time she is on deck) which she appreciated.

Bad Fish takes out the men.

Randy caught a small Mahi Mahi yesterday which we cleaned and fixed into a ceviche. Randy and I ate the bulk of it. By 16:00 we weren't feeling too good, and within an hour we both heaved our guts out, which brought some relief, but we still weren't feeling too chipper. Good thing we have Judy and Laura to run the boat while we recover.

Ever the competitors.

There is a radio net for a dozen boats crossing the South Atlantic with us, including four catamarans and a few mono-hulls like Wings and some which I don't know. Each morning at 08:00 we check in and share position reports and weather information. Of course I immediately began plotting the other boat's positions and comparing our daily progress. I can say that we are beating them all by 10-20 miles a day. Mostly I think it is the routing which is helping us because we are not pushing the boat hard; we've taken a course south of the rumb line where the wind is stronger. Mary Eliza is also doing this and they are the closest competitor. A change in the weather situation could reverse our good fortune, so we watch the weather as best we can.

Stove stories.

The stove has been out and onto the bench four times since leaving Cape Town. I can't tell you how aggravating the Force Ten stove has been and how piss-poor the service. Due to lack of parts we have been reduced to fabricating the pieces we need. Yesterday it was out for four hours while I made some new pieces to seal a leaking gas line. The repair worked and it is fixed now but for how long, nobody can say.

So that is the routine aboard Wings these days.

Fred & Judy (and Randy and Laura), SV Wings, South Atlantic

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