The day started with a small excitement, when the MOB alarm suddenly went off. There are two reasons for this; either one of our crew has gone swimming, or we’ve picked up a signal from another boats unintended swimmer. I laid eyes on all my crew within about 10 seconds, and they all confirmed that none of them were overboard, which was good. Seeing as we haven’t seen any other boats in days, it was unlikely that someone else’s casualty would suddenly surface within 200ft of the boat, as the signal was indicating was the case. Mighty peculiar. The only probable conclusion was that a lifejacket had been left on deck and fallen off the boat. So, still a bit confused, we hove to, dropped the headsail, got out the binoculars, and started looking for a small dash of yellow in a big blue ocean.
With everyone on deck searching the surrounding waters there was still nothing in sight, and the live position target seemed to be following us around, somewhere in a 100ft radius. Even stranger. And then it dawned; the signal was following us around because it was still onboard, just only precise to a hundred feet or so, therefore displaying on the electronics as a short distance away from the boat. Calling everyone back, we all took off our lifejackets and checked the MOB alarms within. Renaud, our prime lifejacket and safety equipment troublemaker! Somehow his unit had managed to pull the arming clip out, slide the activation tab over, and set off the tracking beacon, all within the confines of a well packed and securely zipped up lifejacket. Definitely a new one for me, and a very confusing 10 minutes, where you knew it wasn’t quite making sense, but don’t want to not take it seriously in case you’re missing something.
The logbook now reads “Safety equipment 3, Renaud 0”, in recognition of this, in addition to his previous lifejacket deployment during the spinnaker hoist, and I having had to cut his tether clear after he tried to follow the headsail halyard into the mast. Hopefully he’s had his run of three with safety kit, or all these replacement parts are going to get expensive!
Considering our progress in terms of miles ticked off towards California hasn’t been spectacular to date, despite having sailed lots of miles mainly towards either Alaska or back to Panama, we’re revaluating some of our consumption rates of important finite supplies. This is mainly biscuits, they being the most valuable of all the ships supplies, and Ty has done the whole ‘not buying enough biscuits thing’ again. It’s the only way the boy ever lets me down, so it’s hard to know how openly upset I can be with him about it, because he’s so good with everything else. I might have to suffer this one in solitary silence.
Henry’s spaghetti bolognaise lived up to the afore mentioned expectations. Apparently we have his mother to thank for instilling such good core cooking skills within him, so thank you to Henry’s mum from all the rest of us! I haven’t yet discovered the motivation to build up to baking in a 20º galley, so the big mess and questionable results are still to come.
The first part of the evening was spent getting some north back in, and holding on until we really got headed badly enough to totally kill our progress east, and then would put another tack in. This took a very long time to happen, to the extent I got bored of waiting and went to bed, leaving instructions with Ty about when to execute the pending manoeuvre. When it eventually happened, Henry and Stars made the most of their newly issued ‘permission to tack’, and put in a tidy evolution between the two of them, resulting in a much more satisfactory course.
Holding off for the shift has been paying dividends all day, and we’ve been managing to hold the best course we can realistically hope for. It’s a tricky one to play, as if we put in a long tack ESE, we could get massively caught out when the wind finally backs as we get further across the bottom of the north pacific high, meaning making ground back north will be a painful affair, probably requiring a course that will be slightly west of north (i.e. slightly backwards). However, to put in a big push north now, in anticipation of then laying LA on the other tack and eased angles when the back does come, will have us sailing directly towards the high pressure, risking light airs.
Neither of these are particularly appealing, so for now, stuck between a high pressure system and the potential consequences of getting caught out going too far south, the best option feels like short tacking down our line. Which is what we shall continue to do, tack-by-tack, mile-by-mile, day-by-day. How tedious.
Date: 26th June 2017
Position: 27°36.3N 149¬°40.7W
Wind: NE 4
Swell: NE 3-4ft
Sky: Stratus 6/8
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