My days start at 12:00 a.m. (00:00) because I take the midnight to 3:00 a.m. watch. I like watches because I get some time to myself and it is cool. Not so cool that I need more than a t-shirt and shorts, but refreshing. My watch was more or less uneventful, although on the radar I could see squall lines passing to the East. Fortunately we did not hit any while I was on watch. When Mom came up to take her watch at 3, I went back to bed and slept blissfully...
Until I woke up to wind howling in the shrouds and could feel the boat going very fast. It was still dark but I could tell Dad was on watch, and I was sure he had everything under control. Then I heard the sails start to flog (also called luffing- when the sails flap around). This is never good. After a minute or two we got the "all hands on deck" call from Dad, who, after I jumped out of bed and put on my harness and scrambled into the cockpit, said that we had been cruising along quite nicely but then the wind picked up to 25 knots and started to change directions. This is essentially a squall- the wind comes up fast and can change direction instantly, and is usually accompanied by rain and sometimes lightening. We hit a mini squall, but no harm came out of it. We took down the genoa and sailed under the mainsail until the sun came up.
After the sunrise we decided to put the genoa back up. It is the biggest sail on the standard rigging, so we do not use it when it is very windy, but everything had calmed down (it always seems to do so after sun rise). Long story short, the genoa and the main were too much sail, so we dropped the main. Then the wind clocked around so we had to take down the genoa and put it up on the other side, then the wind dropped more so we hoisted the main again. We essentially played with sails for 4 hours before getting the right combination. That is one misconception about sailing: you point in the direction you want to go, set your sails, and go. Not so. The wind and seas are always changing, and one has to adapt accordingly.
After "adapting" I took a nap as the three hours of sleep after my watch was not quite enough. When I woke up the seas had calmed down and we were sailing on a beam reach. The sky was filled with big, white, puffy clouds against the bright blue sky. We are getting close to the equator and we can tell. The sun is INTENSE. I try to stay in the shade as much as possible, because the instant the sun touches my skin, it burns.
We also took (boat) showers today. Big deal! Want to feel like a million bucks? Don't shower for a few days, stay outside in the wind and the salt, and then take a shower. Its cheap and it feels soooo good. But the trick is staying clean at least for a few hours after the shower. To do this I sit in the shade, in the breeze, and move as little as possible. Regardless of how still I stay, within an hour my shirt is sticking to my back and I am salty all over again. Hence the name- Salty Schneider- even though it sounds like the name of some pretzel snack (so I have been told).
Right now it is 21:00 (9 pm) and it is 86 degrees in the cabin. The water temp is 81. The wind and seas are calm; the stars are shining with full force.
And so my friend, stay tuned for more deliciously crunchy, salty adventures.
At 4/3/2011 3:45 AM (utc) Rutea's position was 06°17.32'N 127°39.48'W
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