About a week ago I had found a broken screw on deck, and had quizzed the crew at dinner to figure out where it had come from. I knew of course that it had come from the pole track on the front of the mast (it’s never good by the way to find broken screws that have fallen out of the rigging!). At the time we noticed just that one and two others - three, total - that had succumbed to the shearing forces of the sail on the pole. We just repositioned the car higher or lower on the track and figured that’d be fine.
A whale came to visit on my mom’s birthday, after I had written that tearful post about stargazing early in the morning, before dawn. Later that day the rains came while I was on watch, again alone, and RIGHT next to the boat a 20-30-foot minke whale made his presence known with a puff of air and a glimpse of his dorsal fin. He stayed with me for over an hour, diving and playing under the boat.
My mom would have turned 69 today had she lived. Today marks the second birthday I’ve celebrated at sea on this trans-Atlantic passage - mine, with Mia’s birthday balls dessert on Jan 25; and mom’s this morning, where on my 0200-0400 early morning watch I shared a quiet cry and contemplated the sea and the stars for two hours by myself in the cockpit, gazing out at the vastness and just being.
One card will be inserted into each book before shipping! AND best yet - ONE single postcard was signed in GOLD INK, to be inserted into book no. 80 of 250...we’ll randomly select one of the orders, and if you’re the lucky golden postcard holder, you’ll get a FREE 1-week passage on either ISBJÖRN or ICE BEAR with 59 NORTH, a $3,400 value! There’s still about 100 copies left to pre-order, so go get ‘em! Shipping in early March!
The night’s have been dark. No moon and clear, cloudless skies makes for some epic stargazing. When I came up at 2230, I turned off the steaming light, which we’d been using to keep an eye on spinnaker trim in the dark. I also had Mia kill the tricolor and the instrument lights. With those extinguished, all that was left was the natural light of the stars, which filled the sky in a way impossible to see ashore. They covered every inch of black sky, from horizon to horizon, the lower ones even casting a shimmering light over the flat, dark sea.
I find it interesting how stretches of ocean seem to have a kind of character about them. The sea-state, despite the lack of wind over these first two days, has been decidedly annoying. Waves from both quarters slewing the boat around. If it’d have been calm, there would have been just enough breeze to sail. But as it were, yesterday afternoon, the waves overpowered the light wind and the sails, rather than pulling, just slatted and banged around.
Here's a quick note from Mia on Kinship, after their first night at sea…
"Hi! Having a great sail, wind 12-15 from E, we are heading SW at about 6-7 kt. Position Monday Jan7, 09.00 utc: 26 degrees 48' N / 15 degrees 43' W. Everyone is happy, got some sleep. Blue clear sky and a slightly cool breeze. Love you. Puss
I chatted with Mia and my Dad today on Skype, and they were just minutes from leaving the dock. It was just before noon here, so sometime mid-Afternoon in Las Palmas. Tim had bought the crew a membership at the little marina club there that had a swimming pool and good Internet, so I'd talked to Mia from there a few times sine they arrived on Thursday.
Portions of this are going to make up my February 2013 article for Spinsheet.That's the Annapolis-based magazine that gave me my start as a published writer. I haven't written it yet.
But by the time it's published (and read - hopefully), it will be February, and some of what I'm about to write won't exactly make sense.
Last year I wrote about how the ARC attracts professional sailors. I highlighted two in particular, Volvo Ocean Race skipper of Team Russia and two-time Olympic sailor in the Star class Andreas Hanakamp, and ocean racing legend Magnus Olsson.
Unsurprisingly, the boats that they sailed on fared particularly well in 2011 - Andreas was navigator aboard the Class 40Vaquita, which took it's class in the racing division.
Here's yet another report from the ARC finish in St. Lucia that I've been working on. This one is particularly significant to me because of the subject(s). Sven and his dad Kenneth sailed all the way down from Norway together, joining the ARC in St. Lucia, and have a one-year plan to go off on this great adventure together, just the two of them.
I normally don't post about my podcast on here, but this week is particularly special for me. I met Andreas last year at the ARC in St. Lucia. He was sailing aboard the Class 40 Vaquita, and they won their racing class. His partner Nina was along as crew, and Mia and I spent some time with them in the marina, and we got a really cool vibe from them.
The locals call it 'bay of the rays.' It's a fishing village south of Castries (St. Lucia's capital), a sleepy place on the beach, quite the opposite of the hustle and bustle of Rodney Bay marina, where the ARC has taken over for a couple of weeks. It's crazier than ever in the ARC Village at Rodney Bay marina - just this morning, five boats crossed the finish line within minutes of each other, making for some excitement on the docks as the Yellow Shirts made space for them. With over 150 boats now in port, that space is getting hard to come by. But it's all in fun.