An immovable continent, midnight gybes, and the occasional drifting tanker.
Where did all the wind go?
A question many sailors, many a time, everywhere around the world asks themselves on a regular basis. Today is our day. Last night, we where happily smashing along the Columbian coastline, almost at the top of our comfort zone for running the spinnaker. This afternoon, we find ourselves back to ‘ghosting’, with just enough wind to keep the sails consistently filled, progress back to the standards of a mere ‘normal boat’.
The good points of this situation are that we are able to easily lay our ‘Panama’ waypoint, which is perhaps rather unsubtly named in indicating a successful arrival at Panama, and that the helming has become more manageable allowing a more inclusive approach to driving the boat.
The down points of this are that we are going slowly, and it’s hot with a capital H, O, and T.
Back to the good old days when we had wind… Last night saw our first serious navigation hazard, in the form of ‘Columbia’. We were running as deep as we could on a port gybe, hoping the wind would back just enough to shape our course down the coast with room to spare. After several hours of hoping, it became obvious that with Columbia forming a near perpendicular line ahead of this, the wind would not be on our side. Ty’s watch prepared for the gybe, and with my crack foredeck team of the Aussie and Alex running the pointy, my Spanish/Polish/French-Mexican team looked after the plethora of lines and sheets required to make it all happen. I looked on with pride as a 5-person team from 5 different nationalities, who had only met and sailed together for a sum total of 5 days, executed a flawless gybe, carefully timed to avoid the wide range of large and immovable shipping that strew our path ahead.
The clean up operation was slightly less polished, with a slight plan change leading to a line being prematurely disconnected, and my view from the helm suddenly including a 30ft spinnaker pole sweeping off the boat with only half the required bits of string attached to it, when the plan was most definitely for it to be securely reattached to the deck! However, the afore mentioned crack team, bolstered by our French-Mexican scientist Renaud, got it all under control before I had time to really start worrying.
The shipping has died down as the coastline has faded off to one side, and the focus is now on keeping the boat moving. Jonathon and I have been spending some time knuckling down on the more in-depth project management and planning for all that still needs to be achieved over the coming months and year. Lot’s of big diagrams are finally giving me a chance to utilise the full potential of my wide and varied collection of Sharpies, so that’s the big positive of my day so far.
The Saturday night cervezas are looking a tad unachievable unless progress picks up, but where else would any of us rather be than on a good boat with good company anyway?
Date: 17th February 2017
Position: 10°19.8N 76°49.5W
Wind: NOT ENOUGH (E 3)
Swell: NE 2-3
Sky: 2/8 cumulus