**UPDATE**-Return Crew- Returning TODAY, Monday 8/13

Hi all,

I keep pushing the ETA back.  I think the soonest we can expect them is  9pm.  I will send one more update after they call me later this afternoon or evening evening.

 Brad

Good morning.

The tracker shows Double Take in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, having passed Cape Flattery at about 3:30am this morning.  They are fighting current right now but that is about to change and should get a good push from an incoming tide to help them home.  The window I predict they will arrive at the dock is somewhere between 4pm today to perhaps as late as 7:30pm.    Hopefully I will be able to reach them by phone later this morning or early afternoon to get a better handle on their position and ETA.

Anyone that would like to greet Brian and the delivery crew as they arrive from their  13 day Pacific crossing are encouraged to do so.  As soon as I have a better feel for timing I will pass that along.

Cheers,

Brad Baker

Return Crew 8/12

Sunday, 8.12.12:  3:54 p.m.:  Lee
Our weather routing was on the mark again & change of watch at 12:00 today marked the start of the predicted bigger breezes……consistent 20’s, gusting to 26.  The corresponding big seas have followed, coming from two directions, approaching 15′ in height with white foam breaking across the tops of the larger ones.  Directionally, the wind is on the beam, we’ve furled in some headsail & are moving fast.  Only the roiling waves make it irregular, pushing the boat around, alternately up, alternately down, occasionally straight ahead.  Below, it’s kind of corkscrewing motion, yaw & pitch are the pilot’s terms I think, for us annoying  & inconvenient are more appropriate.
But then that’s down below…….driving is the bomb.  Focus is certainly not the issue while trying to keep the helm one step ahead of the impact of wind & waves.  Things that push the boat down include waves on the bow, lulls, troughs, waves under the transom & lee helm.  Things that push the boat up include waves on the bow, waves on the stern quarter, puffs, crests & weather helm……a lot of strong physical factors to process all at once, not to mention the fact that we actually have a course to steer to get where we want to go. The waves are actually high enough to have a lee side, so riding up one to the crest means a sudden puff as the boat sits atop the foam, unsheltered from the force of the wind.  Correspondingly, the troughs contain a lull with an impact on boat speed & apparent wind angle.
 It’s pretty sporty out there at the back of the boat, big wheel at hand, feet planted at odd angles for a base of support, clipped in with harness & tether, foul weather jacket collar turned against the inevitable breaking wave, reading all these conditions a hundred times  a minute.  Like I said, focus is not hard to come by because the results in a lack of focus are pretty immediate…..boat on its ear, water everywhere, lack of momentum, off course, unexpected pitching, a big roll to weather, a big roll to leeward, puzzled looks from the rest of the watch saying silently:  “what the _____ are you doing back there?”
It’s not something you want to do constantly, or maybe even frequently, but right now  it’s a gas.
in  the moment,
with love,
Lee

Monday August 13, 4:21 PDT: Brian
4825.97N 12442.98W TWD: 214  TWS: 16  Bar: 1015.8
We are in the Straits!   Cape Flattery, Tatoosh Island, Dunce Rock–they are all behind us.  If it weren’t so dark, I’m pretty sure we’d see land.  Hmmmm …

Kelsey:
..and Harold won the coveted pancake!  (Be sure to ask him about it.)

Return Crew 8/10-8/11

Friday August 10, 20:20 PDT: Brian
4711.63N 13551.86W TWD: 176 TWS: 19 Bar: 1020.8
There is a sort of quiet on the boat right now.  It’s not quiet in the conventional sense–the Yanmar turbo-diesel motor is humming along in neutral at 1800 rpm while we charge the batteries.  The water-maker is wheezing in the background.  Harold’s team is sleeping (though not too much snoring tonight)  between dinner and their night watch at 22:00.  Joe is driving and Kelsey is reading in the cockpit. The boat is making all its usual noises as we sail along at 10 knots in rolling seas.  I’m getting ready for roll call on the SSB radio.
Today has been a very different day.  As we crossed 46 degrees north, the breeze has built into the mid 20s, the cloud cover is thicker and lower, temperatures cooler, water color changes from a brilliant blue to a steely green-gray.  This evening, just before dinner, it started to drizzle.  Quite a change from yesterday afternoon’s sunny spinnaker run.  We must be getting close to home.  In fact, we are–about 450 nautical miles from Cape Flattery.   That’s still rather a long way, but after sailing over 1800 miles from Lahaina,  it feels to us like we’re closing in.  I think everyone is ready.  Talk has shifted lately to include what we want to do when we get home (after long showers and sleeping in a bed), what we want to eat (salad and pizza) and other more personal land-based activities.  We’re close enough now that we can think about coming home.
We’ve had a good day today, covering well over 200 nm in 24 hours.  I’m not sure that the weather will serve us up too many more 200 miles days, but one way or another, we should be home on Monday night or Tuesday.

Friday, 8.10.12:  12:12 a.m.:   Lee
I guess the time noted above actually makes is Saturday morning, but since this watch started Friday night at 10:00 p.m. & I’m continuing Brian’s blog……………well, never mind.  It really doesn’t make much difference anyway.  Right now the only real time that is significant is Harold’s watch which is keeping track of our individual 40 minutes tricks on the wheel.  For some reason, his watch is moving particularly slowly tonight as the time on the wheel & especially the time between tricks on the wheel, is crawling by.  Perhaps this is partially due to the fading of the hyper-attention conditions we have had for the past 18 hours with big winds, big seas & a very slippery, powerful boat moving at over 10 knots most of the time.  That kind of stuff keeps your attention & focus is a must.  It’s just enough gentler all around right now & the seas have just enough wander in them, to throw that focus all out of whack, sometime there, sometimes not.
It could also be, as Brian notes above, that some of that sailing-intense focus has shifted to land-intense, home-intense, loved ones-intense focus.    I think we’ve gotten to a point where Cape Flattery & the final leg home are no longer just an abstract concept.  Perhaps this is because they now have a likely timeframe & their visualization is less like Brigadoon, coming & going in the mist, & more like a real place, with real profile, set in real time.
in transition,
but sailing still,
with love,
Lee

Saturday, 8.11.12:  1:14 p.m.:   Lee
I think we are definitively in the groove for home.  As the aggressive reaching breeze that we’ve enjoyed for 18 hours slowly dropped to only an acceptable reaching breeze of 12 knots, with an acceptable boat speed of 7+ knots, there was little hesitation to turn on the engine & power the boat back up to 8+ knots pointed straight at Cape Flattery, 350 miles away.  Confidence in our fuel level was part of this decision, but emotionally, shore is calling.  Our weather routing also says that we’re headed for more good breeze, which will mean more good sailing, over the next 12 hours or so.  With all the spectacular sailing we’ve been able to do so far, a fast reach into the Straits would only be fitting & oh so satisfying after 2200 miles.
Even the “welcome back to the PNW” weather conditions have failed to dampen spirits while they dampened everything else above & below decks.  Our typical 15 miles diameter visibility circle frequently clamps down to five miles or so as we run through banks of misty drizzle……not overly cold though & a chance to wet down some of the salt impregnated in our foul weather gear.  Clearly we are currently blessed with a bout of positive attitude to take such a drippy setting, not only in stride, but with a bit of welcome as it represents closing the coast & perhaps the last set of conditions we’ll encounter on the trip…..but then the sea has a way of surprising you, expert weather routing not withstanding.
off watch & below out of the rain,
with love,
Lee
p.s.   In the last set of blog notes, there was a question about a bucket bath/cool dip from someone unidentified…..who dat?
To answer:   the only dip to date was about a week ago when Joe had to go over the stern with mask & knife to cut an enormous hunk of fishing net out of our prop (See blog somewhere).  Some say Joe was actually the dip for volunteering to do this without at least making all of us draw straws.  The seas were pretty calm, but it’s still very tiring, nervous work in the middle of the ocean & all of us were grateful for his volunteering.  In general though, we focus so hard on staying on the boat, that the thought of jumping off of it for fun is anathema.

Saturday 8.11.12:  8:46 p.m.:  Lee
Sometimes you can’t get enough information, sometimes you’re afflicted with how much you have.  Our weather routing has been so good that we all have faith in the prediction that sometime tonight the wind will shift to the NW & gradually build to 25 knots,  carrying us on a fast, wet, close reach into the Straits, at a high rate of speed.  Ahead of that shift, light winds, no winds…..something like that.
So far, that’s exactly what’s going on.  Right now we are motoring in a light breeze that is ever so slowly working its way around to a new direction.  So needless to say, we are anxious…..both anxious for the change to occur & anxious about the conditions when it does.  Not that we haven’t sailed several times already in that much air, but prudent sailors share an apprehension when heavier weather is predicted, or they aren’t prudent sailors.  We’re preparing, we’re setting up the boat for the new wind & we’re waiting.
To add to the melodrama, what we’re waiting in is the most eerie, half-light, low visibility, oily sea,  calm of the  trip.  The damp marine layer has closed down the visibility around the boat to less than a mile & the air is so dense with moisture that it collects on the backstay & drips around you at the helm.  Every surface in the cockpit is damp.  There are barely ripples on the face of the gentle swells which are now coming from directly behind the boat.  They lift the transom with a rhythmic roll, allowing the boat to slide down the face without fuss, without spray, without a sound.
So we wait, watching the fading light, watching the radar screen below & watching ourselves to ensure that the trance of the dense air doesn’t overcome the watchfulness necessary to keep the edge of preparation.  No doubt the shift will come, the bigger breeze blowing away all these esoteric concerns & replacing them with the physicality of a big sail boat, moving fast, throwing up spray & making tracks toward home.
anxiously,
with love,
Lee

FAQ With the Return Crew!

What do you do at night?
    – Frequently also:  Do you anchor at night?
We do basically the same thing we do all day……sail & try not to fall down.  This is made imminently harder by not being able to see much, so belowdecks is usually awash with red headlamps searching for gloves, harnesses, boots, coffee, oreos, trail mix or whatever.  To share the nighttime pleasures of sailing when you can’t see, we have two teams of three each that stand six on, six off, four on, four off, four, on four off watches…….this sort of becomes regular, but it’s an irregular sort of regular & night is alternately annoying, disconcerting, irritating & every once in a while, splendid under a full moon or bright stars.  See Sleeping below.

How do you know where you are?
That’s actually pretty easy.  Every $99 GPS will tell you where you are.  An iPhone will even tell you where you …..of course you need cell service……never mind.   At last count, we have one or two GPS’s hardwired into the boat’s instruments & another three or four tucked into various individual sea bags……just in case.  Anyway, the trick in modern electronic sailing is not knowing where you are, but in routing yourself to where you want to go.  That’s a much more interesting exercise involving downloading weather information via sat phone, running it through a weather routing navigation program on the boat laptop and/or getting advice from someone on shore via boat email, via boat sat phone, who is doing the same thing.  We’ve got all that stuff going on, all the time, with Brian, Kelsey & Harold on the boat & Brad, navigator for Double Take’s Vic/Maui win, in Seattle.  An old school way of doing the same is getting weather information via Single Side Band radio & interpreting it with just brainpower.  That’s pretty quickly becoming real old school, going the way of celestial navigation……quaint but annoying.

Do you see other boats?
 Though we left Maui on the same day as four other race boats heading for the same place, sailboats very quickly get dispersed on a big ocean according to their sailing characteristics & tactical approach.  We did have one of them in sight on the horizon for two eight hour stretches, but then they disappeared, never to be seen again.  We know from radio call in that they were not sunk by a whale, nor fell off the edge of  the earth but you couldn’t prove it by us.
Our visibility on a clear day is limited to the horizon, or about 7.5 miles from the height of our deck, so we can see objects within a circle with a diameter of about 15 miles…………not very far on a very big ocean.  Other than the one sailboat, we’ve seen a freighter heading the opposite direction at the eastern horizon,  one that crossed our bow a couple of miles out heading for the coast & that one crossed our bow heading away from the coast…..& that’s it except for the flying fish & they don’t really count.  Big freighters crossing your bow heading in either direction are an interesting diversion, especially at night, unless they are within a mile……then they are positively frightening since they are metal, enormous, moving at a high rate of speed & we’re small, hard to see & plastic.

What about water?
We have a reverse osmosis watermaker aboard that desalinates sea water.  In order to reduce weight on a relatively light racer/cruiser, there is not enough tankage dedicated to fresh water for a long passage.  We have a full 45 gallon tank that we are not using & a day tank that we fill from the watermaker for daily use.  Should the watermaker fail, we go into conservation mode using the large tank.  We also carry 12 gallon jugs of fresh water for emergency use.  The correspondingly sized cruising boat might have water tankage more in the 150-200 gallon range, however at eight pounds a gallon, that’s a lot of weight…..weight being slow for this purpose.

Is it frightening (strange?; odd?; disconcerting? terrifying?, etc.) not to see land?
That part about circles (see Other Boats above), is useful here.  There are actually two circles that comprise your entire world offshore.  The smaller one is the boat itself, really more of an ellipse.   In our case, it’s 48 feet long,  about 15′ wide & is our entire immediate world.  We get to know it pretty well, especially considering we mostly only use part of it.  That ellipse is your world, your land, your foreground, mis ‘en scene & background all in one.  It fills your focus, occupies your mind, constrains your imagination……& before you realize it, that’s not even odd.
The second circle is one referenced above……the 15 mile diameter circle of which we’re the middle point.  The sea doesn’t seem so limitless with a limited perception of it.  You have to imagine beyond that range.  Of course if you do, you can imagine that anything more familiar, like dry land, can be 1000 miles away…..so best let the imagination rest, enjoy the view within your 15 mile circle & watch the sun rise or set over at the edge.

Are there pirates?
Not that we’ve noticed.

Isn’t peaceful & quiet out there?
If it is, the on-watch is sleeping on deck, there is no wind or seas & the boat isn’t moving.  If any of these conditions are not present, it’s noisy as hell most of the time, especially down below while trying to sleep.  The engine makes noise & paradoxically, sailing makes lots of noise.  Winches grind, bulkheads creak, the hull pounds falling off a wave, lines screech, blocks pop, feet clunk, harness shackles snap & when moving ferociously under sail, the water rushes by in a constant loud gurgle & the hull vibrates like a fiberglass can……which it pretty much is. Sometimes the foils hum, but not show tunes.  A certain peace can be found in this if you are on deck, especially if you are driving & the rest of the crew are doing the work & stomping about.  What peace there is comes more from the connection to an unusual experience with nature & not from a lack of sound…….sunrises & sunsets are particularly good for that.

What about sleeping?
Sleeping is challenging (see watch schedule under At Night above). Sometimes one is very tired & can sleep well during off watch, sometimes not.  Conditions play a part as well, boat heeling or not, boat pitching or not, engine on or not, dark or light, warm or not, chilly or not, wet below or not.  It’s unpredictable & tiring after a while until you catch a period where you just conk out for an off watch….oddly this usually happens to the entire off watch at the same time as you get in a common cycle….like girls at boarding school.  That sound sleep is rejuvenating, but always temporary……..then the alert/tired, happy/crabby , nimble/clumsy, talkative/quiet cycle starts over.

Can you catch fish?
Yep…….we trail hand lines with squid like things attached 50 yards or so behind the boat.  No fancy tackle or reels are required (see blog for current tally).  Handing them in & dispatching them while sailing along is the bigger challenge…….it’s bloody & seems to require everyone on board, although that may be more out of excitement than necessity.  It does beg the question, how many grown men does it take to kill a relatively stupid 16 pound Mahi Mahi……quite a few apparently.

Do you see wildlife?
As you might expect, there are no deer out here……no raccoons, no elk, moose, beaver,  or chipmunks.  After a week at sea, the five guys aboard look a little like bears, unshaven & scruffy, but that really doesn’t count.  We suspect there are crustaceans, but they keep a low profile except for ones taking the sun hanging from floating debris.  On some trips dolphin playfully accompany the boat, sometimes there’s an odd whale or two.  This trip it’s been confined to one whale sighting, no dolphin, flying fish, one squid that paid us a terminal visit by landing on the deck & the fish we catch…… except for the sea birds.  The most graceful & imposing of these are the large albatross which occasionally fly around us hoping we will scare something up from the deep.  They swoop & swirl effortlessly, wingtips inches from the wavetops, riding the breeze up & down the faces of the waves.

Do you carry weapons on board?
See Pirates above.  Since we’re going to Seattle, which is mostly civilized & the marina is in a good neighborhood, we left the AK-47 in Lahaina.

Any further questions can be submitted to the blog comments or emailed to svdoubletake@gmail.com & we’ll take a whack at a snappy answer before we get to Seattle.  After that, we’re done.
The Crew of the S.V. Double Take

Return Crew 8/9

Thursday, 8.9.12 :  10.46 a.m.:   Lee
09:22; 44 25.627N by 141 57.702W…….the fictitious dot on the ocean that we have been sailing towards for nine days.  Enough wind from the right quarter; main down; genoa out; engine off & a turn to 050 degrees to point right at Cape Flattery.
Not!
Not yet anyway………..but almost.  With a fresh look at the weather charts, the skipper says “not quite yet.”…..damn.  We need a bit more northing  to ensure getting the best breeze between converging high & low pressure systems.  So we are splitting the difference, more east than the 005 degrees we were motorsailing, but not quite the 050 degrees that is the direct route…….so 030 degrees is the heading, just enough off wind to require the motor for a while longer till the breeze fills in.
Still this seems like a victory of sorts.  We have been working pretty hard for pretty long to set up for this last leg in & the complexion of the next 3+ days is getting more certain, more established, more clear.  Our weather routing has been exceptional through both on board analysis & help from ashore, so no reason to doubt that it’s any less reliable at this late stage in the passage………..so we dutifully turn the boat to 030 degrees & hang a little longer before the bow is pointed right at the rocky mouth of the Straits & waters we all know so well.
with infinite patience,
and love,
Lee

Thursday, 8-9:   19:51 PDT: Brian
4521.33N 14024.75W TWD: 169 TWS: 12 Bar: 1025.3
More Cow Bell!
The change in breeze–direction and pressure–filled in early this afternoon just like clockwork.  Time for a spinnaker.  After pounding upwind for days, motor-sailing through little or no wind, mainsail slatting in ocean swells with light breeze astern, we were about to be rewarded with a sweet, downwind spinnaker run.  First, the spinnaker.  Tom had designated a 3A for our use.  A is for asymmetrical–the shape of the sail; Code 3 means reacher–a sail designed to sail in moderate breeze with the wind in front of or on the beam.   The sail was beautifully vacuum bagged and stored with its snuffer–a giant sleeve that makes it easy for a shorthanded crew to deploy an otherwise large and unweildy spinnaker.  While Harold’s team slept and Joe drove, Kelsey and I wrestled the giant spinnaker into its sock.  Amazingly, Aaron and Lee slept through this exercise, despite yards of crinkly cloth dragged this way and that through the boat punctuated by my salty discourse that would make any sailor proud.  With the kite in its sock, the sock in its bag and the bag on deck, we rigged up the halyard and sheets, attached the tack line, yarded out the sprit, and hoisted the kite.   Yeeha!  The sleigh ride begins.  That was about 6 hours ago–six hours of spinnaker reaching with the apparent wind just aft of the beam under a beautiful blue spinnaker, averaging  10+ knots.   Everyone has now had a few turns at the helm with the more experienced downwind sailors coaching the less experienced.  These are wonderful conditions.  We like it; the boat loves it.  Good clean fun.  Thanks, Tom.  And while we’re sailing at 9-13 knots, following  our optimum track as if we were on rails, L J whipped up a batch of tuna enchiladas–yes, with freshly caught tuna.  Livin’ the dream out here in the North Pacific.

To Janice,
As you’ve no doubt read in the blogs, we’ve been having a pretty good time with the boat……no small part of which has been the hospitality you have extended to your delivery crew.  The birthday party invite, shirts & most importantly for this passage, a boat full of food.  Like in the tuna enchiladas noted above, we have been continually opening lockers & finding things to add to the menu, not to mention the vast assortment of treats.  When it was rough, the freeze dried meals kept us going with nourishment & a doable amount of effort.
So from the whole delivery crew, we would just like to express our thanks for your hard work & for making this an enjoyable trip.
love & see you soon,
The delivery crew of the S.V Double Take

To Autumn:
Thanks again for running the blog for us.  You rock!
To Brad:
Thank you for all of the weather tips, forecasts and reassurances.  Keep ’em coming.  They are tremendously appreciated.

August 9, 2012: Kelsey
45.39.962N/139.51.736W  15 TWS 160 TWD Bar: 1025.5
Our first day of spinnaker sailing and you should have seen the smiles all around the boat.  For those who have made this trip before — this is what they were waiting for.  The wind is perfect and the sea state is calm.  Sailing downwind is warmer than upwind!  It has been a lovely day of sailing.   Now it’s a lovely night of sailing.
..and who knew tuna-chiladas are so tasty?  Yum.

Return Crew 8/8

Wednesday August 8:  5:48 am:  Lee
It’s been a while since last blog…..at least I think it has.  I guess this must be  mid-passage malaise, out of touch, out of sync,  shut down to all but the most prominent physical components.  I have vague memories of mexican dinner , a  halfway gathering, a series of sound off-watch sleeps, a long off-watch non-sleep in my berth while the boat bucked upwind like a fourwheeler on rutted road, fluky winds, consistent winds, driving well, driving badly, various shapes o f the moon, a ship on the horizon that turned out to be just a rising star………..& some other stuff…….I guess.  Consistent in my memories eye are red head lamps in the dark, putting on gear in the dark, bracing myself in the dark, greeting the off watch in the dark as they clamber into the cockpit, dry cheerios, an apple with peanut butter on it, a Clif Bar or two…..maybe some granola.
We’ve been heading north for an interminable time & though for good reason, enough already…..that turn to Cape Flattery still seems like a distant occasion.  I suspect that we all are anxious for that event,  subtle turn though it is, where the tip,  just the tip, of the boat is inside a new direction, a direction that feels more like the way back…..back to land, back to loved ones, back to a surface that doesn’t move out from under you, where sleep is regular, the status of a battery bank is not important & your closet has lots of choices.
from a dimly lit place,
somewhere off northern California,
with love,
Lee

7:45a 41.37.105N/143.32.995W  7.0 TWS  290 TWD  Pressure: 1024.5
Kelsey:   We’re on the 6a to noon watch (again) and I’m eating a tasty bowl of oatmeal at the nav station.  When we arrived in the cockpit this morning, Harold/Lee/Aaron pointed to a light quickly moving out of view behind us — our first vessel sighting for days.  Pretty exciting!  (As others have noted, it doesn’t take much out here.)  We are within 900 miles of Cape Flattery now (as the crow flies) and seeing the ship makes it seem like we’re getting closer.

Wednesday, August 8, 10:40: Brian
4153.09N 14322.04W TWD: 269  TWS: 4  Bar: 1025.1
Motor-sailing.  The breeze crapped out this morning, as predicted, so we’re motor-sailing north in relatively calm conditions.  While Harold’s watch is in the rack, Kelsey, Joe and I have taken advantage of the flat water and light winds to do chores.  We’ve spent much of the last few days on our ear with the boat heeling over and bouncing enthusiastically.  Under those conditions, it’s harder to take care of the necessities much less the desirables.  After all, when was the last time you went into the bathroom thinking, “I hope I can get in and out of here without injury”?  Anyway … while the off watch boys slept and we took our turns at the helm, Kelsey pumped the excess water out of the bilge, Joe cleaned the head, I cleaned the galley.  The boat is now spick and span.  Harold’s up now, and so excited about all this cleanliness that he’s decided to take a bucket bath on the transom.  He’s even promised to shave, although what he intends to shave is as yet undisclosed.  I’ll keep you posted … or perhaps not.
Harold:
We are tired beat and beat up.  We have bruises cuts and scrapes, rashes sores and sprains. We are over half way and still almost 1000 miles from home.  Because we have no auto helm one of us has been on the helm every minute 24 hrs a day.  Each of us is in the cockpit on watch 12 hrs each day and driving 4 hrs a day.  At the helm you are exposed to the full force of the wind sun rain and salt spray from the waves breaking over the bow.  These next few days will  tell us who we are and who are shipmates are. These begin the bonding days . The last couple of days before we make cape Flattery will seal the deal. These are typically very trying days.  Big seas and strong winds.  Once you have made a major crossing like this you become a member of an elite group of sailors and the ones you sailed with will always hold a special place for you.  I always cry when I finally make land and this time will be no exception.
Peace and Love  Harold
Wednesday, August 8:  4:19 pm:  Lee
Much as most of us probably hate to admit it, there’s a welcome relief to a spell of motoring  through a calm…..especially after pounding through a thrash.  It means reduced anxiety, reduced discomfort, better sleep, predictable movement & a general sense that world makes sense again & that your place in it isn’t quite so tenuous.
It also means a chance to clean up, person & boat & to catch up, mostly boat.  Fueled by the collective energy restored by not having to hold onto something every moment, we’ve spent the morning & early afternoon doing boat stuff…..refilling the fuel tank from five gallon jerry cans stored in the stern & completely rerunning the genoa furler  with new line.  This was an extended version of our previous fix entailing unrolling the genoa, dropping it on deck, unspooling the furling line from the drum, resplicing a new line, rewinding the new line onto the drum in the opposite direction to provide a chafe free lead,  putting the genoa back up & refurling it…….of course followed by unfurling it & refurling it just to make sure we hadn’t screwed up all up somewhere in the process.  These tasks & others were in preparation for our last couple of days at sea & entry into the Straits where we’re expecting high winds & none of these necessary tasks would have been as easy or as safe.
The activity is buoyant & collaborative which also helps pull us out of our personal solo-funks & makes us feel like a crew again, working for a common purpose.  The off watch heads for what I hope is a peaceful & deep sleep, while our watch autopilots the boat through the lazy swells, still heading north to our mercurial rendezvous point with an easterly turn.
from a peaceful boat at sea,
with love,
Lee

20:24 PDT: Brian
4256.53N 14240W TWD: 244  TWS: 9 Bar: 1026.0
What a productive day.  The boat is cleaner, the crew is cleaner (though the jokes are as raunchy as ever); we’ve re-run, re-rigged, re-fueled, re-furled … We were all set to put a chicken casserole in the oven when I hear Joe shout: “Harold, Fish On!”  As the chaos of fishing (reeling in, boating, killing, filleting)  swept through the cockpit, Aaron and I agreed that Tuna be damned, we were having chicken Marsala.  Several Albatross circling our stern enjoyed the rest of the fish.
With fresh Tuna fillets in the ice box, we all dined together in the cockpit.  Kelsey calls the 1st course, French Picnic–a hodge-podge of meats, cheeses, carrots, peppers, and crackers. Merde!, we forgot the cornichon!  Course 2: Chicken Marsala.  We even had dessert–Key Lime tarts.   I’d sneaked them on the boat and hidden them in the bottom of the refrigerator for Kelsey’s birthday, but on the big day, most of us weren’t all that keen on eating.  Now, a week later, they were mighty fine.  Cool, tart, refreshing.   Dishes done, motor-sailing north to what promises to be more wind and some fast, down-wind sailing, Harold, Aaron and Lee are catching a few winks while Kelsey, Joe and I finish our watch.

21:33: Kelsey
43.04.604N/142.37.096W  TWD: 240 TWS: 7 Bar: 1026.3
Oh my goodness…MORE fish!  Tuna, tuna, tuna, tuna, tuna.  Joe promises that he will make us a tuna dinner tomorrow that won’t leave anyone thinking they are sick of fish.  I’m looking forward to taking the challenge.  I have to admit, the whole process of dragging the fish in, killing and filleting it — well, it doesn’t really appeal to me.  Still, they can be pretty darn tasty.  (Julie, please do NOT have mahi ice cream waiting for us at the dock! 🙂
The best part of FISH ON today was the group of six circling albatross who came in for the scraps.  After seeing the albatross doing their mating dance in the Galapagos last July, I’ve loved these birds.  Now, I get to see them at sea, where they spend most of their time.  The wing span is massive and they dip the tips of their wings into the water as they bank between the waves.  It looks like they are tickling the water.  Every time they come to fly near us, it makes me smile.
And we saw yet another ship today.  This one was heading south and was on the horizon.  Makes me feel like we’re getting closer to home.  I’m looking forward to seeing everyone.
The entire crew says THANK YOU to Autumn for keeping these blog posts coming and going.  It really is a highlight to receive them and we’re glad you’re out there reading them.  (Steph:  Even though Aaron doesn’t blog much, he is getting your messages and every time I tell him there is a message from you, his face totally lights up.  I’m going to send this now before he reads this and gets embarrassed.)