0500. Wind SW at 8-12 knots, and Isbjorn is going smooth on a close reach at 7.5 knots. This is the first time the wind has been forward of the beam since leaving Hampton Roads!
We're expecting a frontal passage sometime today and have rehearsed the plan. Reef down early before the wind builds too much, then try not to get caught off guard during the windshift and follow the breeze around to the NW. Then setup the downwind rig again (we've gotten remarkably good at setting & stowing the pole by now), and we'll be off on our way again. That's the idea anyway.
My dad on Sojourner is about a day & a half behind us, still pretty far east, but over 100 miles north. The front's going to affect him more than us. This is silly of me because he's got a great crew and he's a great sailor himself, but I still worry about them! I'm an anxious person in general when it comes to these kinds of adventures. Mia & I often joke that while I may appear pretty adventurous at first glance (a barista in Lunenburg thought I looked like a cop!), I'm really just a big softie on the inside and still get nervous out here despite my experience. Keeps me on my toes I guess, but I'll admit it's not the nicest feeling.
I had a private breakdown two days ago. I was in my bunk listening to music & half sleeping and woke up with an overwhelming feeling of sadness. I had on an old Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds album that must have subconsciously reminded me of my mom. I used to listen to that a lot in high school, so that's probably why. Anyway I couldn't keep it in. I pulled the covers over my head and just started weeping like a little kid. I realize that I've been so busy I never get a chance to reflect, and these emotional moments catch up to me when my guard is down. My mom died 4 1/2 years ago, but I'm obviously not done grieving. Being out here in such pure nature also makes me emotional. She would have loved this, and did, the several times she joined us on passages in the past. I had a good cry, and Mia found an old photo of her that we posted at the nav station. I never did tell the crew, though I suspect they knew something was up when I emerged from my cabin with puffy eyes and a stu
ffed-up nose. To be honest, the emotional release felt really good.
Stuff like that happens out here. You're simultaneously utterly relaxed, disconnected from real life in a way almost impossible in the modern world. And yet you're also constantly on edge, thinking about the boat, the weather, the crew, the unpredictable future, etc etc. Not to mention the thought in the back of your mind that your 300 miles from the nearest land. A volatile combination of emotions. But the rawness of it, the simplicity, is what I like most about ocean sailing. You have time for emotions you didn't know you had in you. It's a different pace, one the body & brain can actually keep up with. What a great way to reset.
Aside from that, we've been drama free on Isbjorn. The sailing has been remarkable, fast downwind running with a big, beautiful friendly swell for the first few days. And now really smooth close reaching. We motored for three hours yesterday morning (bringing our total to six). We had to drop all sail in a very sloppy swell leftover after the wind shut down.
Our boom vang broke around Day 2. We heard an unidentified 'BANG!' (never a good sound), and quickly traced it to the wire in the vang/kicker. All but two of the 7 strands on the 7x19 wire had parted. I rigged a crappy jury rig in the moment, then yesterday during the calm replaced the broken wire with dyneema. It's not perfect - I have to take it apart to properly fix it - but it'll get us to Tortola.
Andy / Isbjorn