ISBJORN Trans-Atlantic p. 2 // Morning Coffee Offshore

0936 Tuesday morning. Fiery sunrise this morning, just for those few moments when the sun appeared above the horizon but below the layer of gray clouds. The ocean was colored a dark, steel blue with flecks of whitecaps on each wavetop. Beautiful colors.

I’m tired this morning, a little weary. I didn’t sleep well last night, despite being in my bunk for about 12 hours. Not uninterrupted. The night was strange. Just before dinner we gybed the chute (flawlessly I might add) and rocketed off to the south while Mia served a chicken quinoa dish. ISBJORN was loving the big sail and I didn’t want to take it down. Some funky looking clouds on the northeastern horizon made my mind up for me. I wanted to sleep, and it’d be easier with the spinnaker in its bag belowdecks.

Spinnaker blasting just before we took it down ahead of the sunset. This would have been a good plan about two weeks later when we had to get it down with a knife…stay tuned.

The takedown went smoothly. Mia was on the foredeck photographing the crew while I called the shots from the helm. David & Etta set the genoa on the pole right before dark. We’d given up a knot or so of boat speed in favor of some stability.

That didn’t last. Initially, as the wind clocked towards the east, the jib kept back-winding on the pole and slamming around, hurting my soul every time the rig shutters. I got out of bed to help correct course slightly. An hour later the slamming was happening again, this time down to lack of wind, not a changing wind direction. Under some dark clouds, the wind had all but disappeared, so we took down the pole and sailed more towards the south to keep the apparent wind up across the boat, and the sails full. This seemed to work, and I managed to get to sleep at midnight.

Mia with the first (of many) stowaways we found. There were flying fish like this, and even a few small squids on deck!

I woke again at 0410 to the sound of winches grinding. A quick think about the watch schedule and I figured Mia should be on deck, so she probably knew what was going on. I stuck me head out the companionway.

“I haven’t sit still for more than two minutes!” Mia said. Just then she was winding in a bit of the genoa to avoid a passing squall.

“I’ve had the wind everywhere from 5 knots apparent to 23, the course everywhere from 180 to 250 on the steering compass,” she told me.

Etta & David on watch, while Mia takes a peek through the companionway.

Well, she had it under control anyway, so I went back to bed yet again, finally waking up for good at 0700 to have coffee in the cockpit with Mia during the last hour of her watch, just as the sky in the east was starting to glow with the coming dawn.

So yes, I’m a bit weary this morning for lack of sleep. I’m taking a longer time than usual to adapt to life at sea on this passage, probably because I know we’re in it for the long haul and I’ve got time on my side. No need to rush into anything. I’m feeling slightly guilty for not getting out the sextant or the splicing tools yet, but then again, we’ve actually had a lot of sail changes, between shaking the initial reefs in the mainsail to setting and dousing (and gybing) the chute, to rigging and de-rigging the pole, etc. So there’s been plenty to do, and we’ve got plenty of time to do more.

Mia has set the single-watch record for astronaut pushups at 201 on her 0400-0800 watch this morning, so I’ve got that to beat. I might make up one of those forearm trainers with an old broomstick and some dive weights later on. That’ll be fun. I also want to rig the pullup bar in the shrouds again at some point.

If nothing else on this trip, we’ve got time.

ISBJORN at sunrise, blast-reaching to the SW and towards Cape Verde.