Friday, May 18, 2007
Fly like an eagle!
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Hey Sailor, new in town?
Well, today we finally got to do what we came for. Fly this fucker over water. For the first time on this leg we got decent wind on our beam and brought out the big sails. We had the main and headsail up full, flat seas (relatively) and about twenty knots of wind on our beam, all of it around two in the afternoon with warm wind and patchy skies. Thorny and Holly T. made a fantastic meal and we sat on the famed "Aloha" deck and ate while Otto the Autopilot held us steady.
It was an awesome afternoon, fresh breeze, great food and fabulous company! As the sun set and the wind died we realized that was probably the "sailing" highlight of our trip. It just couldn't get better.
But it did. This evening as we rounded Punta Burica on our way to Golfito, Thorny banged on my hatch to let me know the wind jumped up to thirty knots, with gusts above thirty five. Since it was an offshore breeze and only had a few miles of fetch to act on the water, the seas were less than three feet. We shut off the motor, pulled up the main and headsail (but left them double reefed as it was night and a relatively inexperienced crew) and flew across the water.
We tacked away from the mainland and were making 8.5 knots with little effort and no weather helm. The wind was close hauled and she still pushed along through the sea, a flat ride without any hobby horsing you'd expect on a mono hull. Jeff was leaning over the leeward side staring at the water, and called us over. When we peered out we could see each bow wave's splash highlighted in phosphorescence. As she skipped along the waves, the breaking spray tingling our faces, I thought two things: My God what a beautiful boat, at home in her element, and any regrets I might have ever harboured about spending my life savings on this adventure just faded away.
We're still doing 7 knots, and I'm sitting in a calm, flat, comfortable salon, naked (our natural state on Triton), writing away, musing about a conversation I'd had with Steve and Bruna about their choice to build a power cat instead of a sailing cat. While I completely agree with Steve's very well reasoned argument (and, surprisingly well supported by actual data) that the economics are probably in their favor, as modern diesels are pretty cheap to run compared with the constant upkeep of sails, mast, hardware, lines, etc., I don't think there is any price I could have put on the last hour of my life, and I'll take the arguably more expensive option, for the opportunity to feel this close to the wind, the sun, the waves and the sky.
I guess I should balance all this gushing with the fact that for every great moment, there are two grunky ones, which today included waking up with a stiff back, and then finding out that the starboard engine oil pressure was low and we needed to change the oil and filter. We're hoping to push that off until we get to a calm mooring at Golfito, but still, there is always something more to do in paradise. No rest for the wicked!
My editor tells me that I write more bytes than beaut's so I'll try to keep this short. Just wanted to let everyone know we're still on track and (amazingly, given the lousy wind we've had over all) still on schedule. We'll be in Golfito tomorrow, then on to Punta Arena. Depending on what we find in both towns, we'll probably leave the boat there for a few weeks before resuming our odyssey.
Hope all is well.
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