The last 24 hours haven’t been the most awe inspiring sailing ever, but they’ve seen us make fairly good miles. Our eastwards tack held for a long while, seeing us through the day and well into the night. It was only when we started to be headed again and pushed south did I decide to make the turn, and get some north in the bag again. That previous tack has been our best single run of progress to California since leaving, so was great to have and a bit of mental pickup for everyone. With a few more of them it might just be possible to actually sail back from Hawaii!
With enough downtime between the relentless 1-2 hours helming stints that the team endure every watch, some constructive activities are starting to come to the surface. Renaud is back on his Italian learning curve, Ty is churning his way through the documentaries, Stars is considering what book to read, Henry is considering learning to read, and I’m actually doing some reading. It’s been a while since we did anything up on deck other than drive and tack, but the foredeck is looking like a wet and increasingly cold place to be, so I’m not exactly yearning for days of furious sail change action any time soon.
As our small dot makes it way across the tracker, and the trail of pencil marks record our journey back across the paper charts, the temperature has officially drop to an acceptable level, with Disco now attaining my official approval as ‘habitable’, and an ‘almost civilised’ place to live. It will never be a truly civilised place to live, on account of it being ‘a boat’. Down below finally doesn’t involve sitting in an ever-increasing pool of your own sweat, and being on deck requires layers. Actual layers, like life in the best countries around (i.e. England) require. The boots are out, trousers on, and jackets dug out. The best thing about wearing boots again is having the occasional delight of fresh socks. Small things in life, but a pair of fresh socks at sea will turn a bad day around pretty quickly.
A new feature in the saloon today is the ‘marker pen inclinometer scale’. There has been a marker pen on a piece of string hanging from the forward saloon bulkhead since Lymington, as there used to be a whiteboard there. When we’re heeling over it is one of the few visual indicators in the galley of that angle, other than the fact that it’s hard to move around and anything you put down instantly ends up somewhere else. Henry has today annotated the wall around the marker with a scale denoting the extreme angle of heel as ‘no bueno’, marginally less heel as ‘bueno’, a slight heel as ‘boring’, and then the usual daily activities of life aboard written in the portion of scale where the pen hangs vertically. We spend most of our time between ‘bueno’ and ‘no bueno’ at the moment, with the occasional ‘boring’ moment.
The galley has continued to produce the required daily meals, and Ty is using any opportunity to surreptitiously supplement them with contents from our bottomless stock of beans that literally never seems to decrease. It’s one of the reasons I don’t get involved with the victualling of the boat before a passage. The first is that if I’m not involved in choosing the food, any displeasure at the menu can’t be held against me; one of the very few things that can officially not be my fault on Disco (using good advice from another skipper there). The second is that with such plentiful stocks of beans and tinned soup, it’s pretty much impossible for us to starve to death; even if the team came back from the shopping with nothing but 500kg of bananas, we would survive an ocean passage. Granted, it certainly wouldn’t be much fun, and there is a serious debate to be had about whether it would be better to starve than have to consume tinned soup every day. In case I haven’t mentioned it, I hate soup on boats. With a passion.
I’ve finally established the only two items we’re really missing in the galley, other than a permanent chef and a specialist egg chef, who would be on call just to cook eggs, any way you want, to perfection. They are a garlic crusher and an espresso machine. At some point I’m going to chop a finger off while attempting to turn cloves of garlic into tiny pieces, and when would an espresso machine not be a good idea?
We’ve tacked again, which is exciting. The afore mentioned northerly tack ended up starting to go a bit too close to west for my liking, which indicated the potential for a good heading on the alternate. It turns out that it’s a very good heading, and we’ve spent all the time since tearing through the miles, storming our way at 8kts with 100% VMG, directly to California. It won’t last, never does, but will stand us in good stead for any slower or more indirect days to come, and certainly feels pretty good to be doing for now! Onwards east we go.
Date: 27th June 2017
Position: 27°13.9N 147°13.1W
Wind: NE 4
Swell: NE 3-5ft
Sky: Altostratus 7/8
With the support of our partner Weather Routing Inc.
Follow the progress of Discoverer day by day on our live tracker