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[ THE WIRE ] Close to the California coastline

After we left you going into evening yesterday, a wonderfully clear night of fast and furious sailing ensued. With only a few clouds around and a full moon, we trucked along under yankee 1 and full main, making well over an 8kt average. Proper sailing again, with Disco doing what she does best in fairly optimum conditions.

Sitting at the nav station during my off-watch, I could hear a peculiar noise on deck, so I stuck my head up and asked if everything was OK. It turns out it was Renaud doing his best wolf impression, in honour of the full moon. Whatever keeps him happy, but definitely a new noise to the deck of Disco. We might have to declare him at customs when they ask me if there is any livestock aboard (I did actually respond to one customs officer in Hawaii when he asked if there were any animal aboard with “only the crew”, which he thought was a fair comment).

As we steadily close on the California coastline, the world around us is coming alive with the associated excitement of coastal sailing. There is plenty of shipping about to keep the AIS display busy and entertain us all with looking up where the various tankers, bulk carriers and cargo ships are off to and in how much of a hurry they are. We are at a crossroads between the coastal traffic and where a lot of transpacific shipping starts its run down towards the Panama Canal, so it’s varied and plentiful; a nice change from the 2 ships we’ve seen over the last 18 days.

The VHF has also sprung back into life with the constant chatter of the land stations, the familiar tones of Coast Guard Sector San Diego providing regular commentary into the happenings nearer shore, their powerful aerial delivering an, at times humorous, one side of their conversations with boats nearer shore. There are an amusing number of people doing silly things to keep them busy, it seems.

The big result of the night was I finally getting round to brewing a pot of coffee, something that had eluded me for the last two days. I got the kettle on several times, but always managed to fall asleep at the table before it could come to fruition. Tonight, I refused to relent, and was finally rewarded with some of the final stocks of coffee, that has served us so well all the way from Lymington.

As the day continued, the wind began to build, and mid-afternoon crossed the threshold from ‘exciting’ to ‘unmanageable’ in one quick hour. We persisted with some ‘helm hooligan’ action for our hour or so, reminiscent of Joe’s legendary performances back in the good old days, blasting through the waves ahead until your arms couldn’t take it any more. Although, however hard we try, I don’t think anyone will ever have as much fun as he did driving Disco overpowered.

We snugged a reef in the main in an attempt to hold off what was the soon inevitable reality of a headsail change. With the sea state getting quite lumpy, we hove-to, and all went forward to wrestle the yankee 1 down onto the foredeck and into submission, eventually all trussed up in it’s long bag, and quickly returned to the depths of a rather soggy sail locker. It has served us well over the last 2 weeks, and been up non-stop since soon after leaving Hawaii, without any hassle. The yankee 2 has now taken over the baton, given the boat a bit more balance in the strong breeze we’re enjoying.

As we settle into what should be our penultimate night before landfall, we are trying to make sure we get through all the best food that is left, finishing on the best possible culinary high. There are grand plans for a big breakfast in the morning, including all the remaining bacon, sausages and eggs. Should be good.

The dusk was something to remember. A huge yellow sun slowly made its way down to the horizon off our port, fading to a shimmer as it finally set, while off to the right the full moon was already high in the sky, illuminating a pathway of water from the water to our starboard beam. A special start to a good night I hope.


Date: 8th July 2017
Time: 2158z
Position: 30°19.5N 123°55.3W
COG: 050°T
SOG: 8kts
Wind: N 4-5
Swell: NNW 6-8ft
Sky: 3/8 stratocumulus
Weather: Fair.


 

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