Tuesday 4 August 2015

Does it get any better than this?

Sailing experience - that is of the reasons I am on this trip. We started the passage from Tuvalu to Santo, Vanuatu in bright sunshine with great winds. In looking at some of the forecasts there appeared to be a small rotation that would start just about the time we figured we would get to Santo. The rotation was to be to the southwest of Santo so it appeared it would not affect us at all. The first day we had a bit of rain but we had been having rain every day in Tuvalu so it was no big deal. As the sail progressed the wind picked up and on the GRIB files we were receiving, the forecast was for big wind and big seas and the rotation centre had moved to a spot not too far from where we were. We decided to hove to for 12 hours overnight to give us a break from the constant pounding and to check out a new set of GRIB files in the morning to determine if we could proceed. At this point Zeke wanted to head south, Bill wanted to stay put as he had a rough passage and did not want to get feeling any worse. I was asked "If this was your boat what would you do" My response was "Head back to where we came from" But it not being my boat I was willing to do whatever the guys decided. The next morning it was decided to head north to get away from the big winds and to possibly head west and go up and around the storm centre and then come south where the winds were predicted to be much lighter. Off we went north and the wind forced us west. Finally we tacked and headed north east. It was then decided after much debate to hove to for 18 hours and see if we could slip south and then west and miss the big seas that had Bill concerned. We had a glorious sunny afternoon and a nice peaceful night and everyone got a good sleep when they weren't on watch. The next morning well rested and in light wind we decided to head south after reviewing the latest GRIB files we got on Sailmail. The seas began to get bigger as expected. The wind picked up as expected. Heading south we were banging into the waves a bit. At 4 PM we decided to head strait for Santo which was south west and very close to downwind. This made our boat much more comfortable going with the waves rather than banging into them. Soon after we turned SW it started to rain as predicted. Zeke had been out trimming the sails and I said. "You didn't go out for a fresh water shower?" His response "I thought about it for just about a minute, and then decided against it" 20 minutes later I decided I couldn't pass up an opportunity like this. (I fondly remember after arriving in Hiva Hoa in the Marqueses in 2008 with my sister and brother in law. Shortly after we anchored we had a torrential downpour. We had been watching our water for the whole 22 day trip from the Galapagos and here was more fresh water that we had seen for the whole trip. On went the bathing suits out came the shampoo and soap. The water was pouring off the tarp that was used for a sun shade over the cockpit. We were like kids soaking up the fresh water. After traveling around the world 7 years later I'm sure my sister can remember that glorious time. So I got on my suit, got the shampoo, soap and a towel. It took a while to get wet and to rinse my hair a few times in the water dripping off the triple reefed main sail. But it sure feels good to be clean. Then it started to pour. The wind picked up. I'm told we were going 18 knots over the ground as we surfed down one of the big wave. I just stood and marvelled at the waves, how No Regrets was handling them, at the pouring rain, and at the super clean feeling you can only get when the rain is pouring off you after a good soaping down. As the rain continued I got out a bucket and collected rain water pouring off the main. Got out a few dirty clothes and the laundry soap and began to wash. To rinse I just needed to put the clothes on the edge of the cockpit or over a winch. By the time I got around to wringing all the clothes the first one was ready for its next wringing. It doesn't get any better than this. Zipping along downwind on a sailboat, Squeaking clean, with clean clothes. I'm sure my sister would agree.... -------------------------------------------------