12 Days at Sea
Today marks our 12th day at sea. For most on board this is the longest they’ve been at sea and slowly conversation is turning to what they’re looking forward to on land. The chance for the mind to wander to shore side delights is helped by the lack of wind we’ve been experiencing of late. This crossing of the North Pacific gyre is a bit of a tricky one in terms of tactics. To be honest I’m not sure I’ve played a blinder as the skipper, the engine having to be in use far more than I would wish on a sailing vessel. After a ‘sporty’, as the North Americans would say, shoot north from Hawaii, we waited until the wind switched and came from the West before heading east for Victoria. The Aleutian low and the North Pacific high are big factors when crossing the North Pacific, you want to avoid the lows too far north, it can be a little too extreme for most, and whilst motoring through the high is certainly the most docile way to go, it can be a bit dull. Whilst we’ve been crossing some lows have been establishing themselves and until they did so it’s been hard to pinpoint where the high will be, in hindsight we should have gone further north in order to reach more steady breeze rather than the fickle switching wind we’re getting. Despite that I live in hope that we may be able to get some gennaker sailing in tomorrow, before we have a hooley hit for our last couple of days heading for the Juan de Fuca Strait.
Having such light winds hasn’t been all boring though, the sextant has been out multiple times and celestial navigation has been taught to those interested. Unshockingly we lost the interest of most of our students when we pulled out the books for the calculations but for those that have persevered, they have a new found appreciation for the people that figured out this way of navigating! We’ve been for a swim in the ocean at 6000m depth, studied clouds-for meteorological reasons, deciding which we’d live on and the classic animal shape spotting- taught whipping, pulled a couple of winches apart and of course had time to appreciate the night skies. Maybe we’ve just been staring at the sky too long but there’s a definite movement towards believing in UFO’s and aliens after ‘suspicious’ stars have been sighted.
A game of Assassin has started from about 30 minutes ago. Each person has been allocated an object to assassinate another crew member with by handing it to them in a certain place without arousing suspicion. This object could be anything from a fender to a cabbage so immediately everybody has become very paranoid about accepting anything from anyone, it may not be very conducive to sailing but should keep us entertained until the wind hits!
5 more days until we should be alongside in Victoria, you can tell we’re closer to the PNW as the overriding color now is grey. We’re expecting breeze between 3 knots and 40+ knots between now and then so are savouring the last moments of peace and being able to read a book on deck. Fingers crossed the crew are now salty enough that Sea Dragon doesn’t once again become a vomit comet! Whatever happens they should all be very proud to complete this ocean crossing.