Kinship Logs: Tortola - Bermuda

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Talisman LII, Kinship's sistership.

4 May: Prep almost complete.

The crew of Kinship has been diligently at work in Nanny Cay, preparing the boat for the long voyage. Each day we have been checking all ships systems, provision, and of course, Murphy's Law has been alive and well and given the crew of the good ship Kinship some unexpected stuff to fix. Of course, in grand maritime tradition, the crew has made sure to partake of postprandial libations at the end of each work day (and sometimes even in the afternoon).

With our fourth crew member arriving late last night, Kinship now has a full complement of competent crew: Tim Szabo, our fearless Captain Mother, Ursula Loucks in the radio shack, Mia Karlsson on deck and galley, and Ben Eriksen from Long Island, who was appointed the resident bilge monkey as all the better positions on the boat had already been spoken for before his late arrival.

We feel confident that the boat and her motley crew are ready for the big blue circle of endless horizons.

And so we say:

There are good ships,

And there are wood ships,

The ships that sail the sea.

But the best ships, are Kinships,

And may they always be.

Posted by the crew of Kinship

7 May: Time out for the captain

Rumors of a mutiny on Kinship are greatly exaggerated. The crew did NOT throw the captain in the lazaret... rather they think that, due to the scarcity of suitable bunk space, the captain graciously gave up his primo bunk and retreated to the lazaret. The crew isn't sure whether this is a gesture of his magnanimity, or whether that is where he stashed his Oreo cookies.

8 May: Wallowing Along

We have now been sailing for 3 days. The start of the rally found most of the 25 yachts motor-sailing across the starting line in calm winds and seas. But as we rounded Jost Van Dyke to starboard & poked our bowsprit into the great Atlantic, Kinship's sails bellied with the moderate breeze, and though the winds weren't as feisty as we would have liked for a fast passage, they were in the 7 knot range--a force adequate to propel our moderate displacement performance cruiser. That first glorious night found us gliding like a giant lunar moth in the light of the full moon. Life was good.

But what nature giveth, nature taketh away, and with each passing hour, the wind lessened until mid-morning, when the sails slatted with the last sigh & the wind held her breath. Shuffling along at 2 knots, we were boldly going nowhere. And with 800 miles to go, it was a sobering thought. With the ARC finish line due to close in 6 days, there was a moderate urgency to arrive Bermuda in time to at least buy another egg or two & refuel for the Atlantic crossing...not to mention enjoy Bermuda & the rally festivities that ARC Europe is famous for.

Wallowing along was not a realistic option. So we reluctantly cranked up the diesel--hoping to catch some wind further north. In sailing, the sails represent the hopeful side of the sport; the diesel engine, however, is often the reality.

Except for an occasional puff that suckled the sails for a few hours, we motored most of the second day and the third, the engine thrumming along--thwickety-twack, thwickety-twack, thwack-tic--in iambic pentameter, as we plowed the sea from horizon to horizon to horizon.

There is an old tradition that whistling will arouse Eurus, the Greek god of the southeast wind. We took turns whistling various tunes, but no wind was to be had. Eurus, we concluded must be napping.

We then recalled that the gods had given Odysseus a leather pouch filled with wind to use wisely as needed. But alas, the Olympian gods of ARC Europe had failed to include such swag in our bag of goodies. A pouch of fresh southeasterly winds would surely have been infinitely preferable to a floating fish key-fob or a beer cozie.

But it wasn't all bad. Without the need to fight gravity on a heel, our 2 empresses of the sewing needles hand-stitched the ripped seam in the bimini, and with our cornucopia of provision, we dined royally on curried chicken, pork cutlets, pasta & various salads. Our circle of horizons provided uninterrupted vistas of Fourth of July blue skies, white puffy clouds & red sunsets. Flying fish occasionally rippled the blue mirror of a sea & whales put on an impressive display breaching the surface & flopping over in huge sprays of white. The sun even graced us with a spectacular green flash the third day out. Just nature & us, and, of course, the diesel engine.

10 May: Aeolian Music

We finally found some wind on Day 4. I can't claim that our whistles to the god Eurus did us any good. Instead, what seemed to do the trick was the Captain's insistence that Aeolus, the Keeper of the Winds, was the one we really should be appeasing. It seemed that Aeolus likes rock & roll, specifically Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain", for soon after the last chords of the song were complete, a light southeasterly breeze strengthened, the sails snapped taut with the wind, Kinship put her shoulder to the sea, and soon we were tossing great curls of blue off the bow on a broad reach. It is now Day 5 and the wind has been steady for 24 hours. The boat has been gently rising and falling with each passing wave as the ocean breathes in and out. And the greedy guzzler that had been slurping up all our fuel has been taking a long deserved rest.

We are currently in the middle of our little armada with 170 miles to go. 

A cold Dark & Stormy enveloped in condensation has taken on talismanic proportions.