Sunday Day 2

I was told that Paula got seasick in the morning, while I was sleeping. She sure took it nicely though; it seemed to be the only time, and for the rest of the time she cooked in the cramped galley in rocky seas without seeming affected.

They say waves look 6 times smaller on photographs


It seemed the night-sailing took a bite out of the crew. I was feeling a bit exhausted too. Brice was discussing whether to go to Savannah to fix the autopilot. It would prolong the trip by 1½ day and we would lose Paula. Maybe they wouldn’t be able to fix the pilot in Savannah? Maybe it needed some oddball part? In that case, the trip would be even harder without Paula and the autopilot. So what to do? I decided to check out the autopilot. Bill said the sensor arm was attached to a flange that broke. It was repaired just before we left, but never tested. Arghh. Obviously one should test it? Of course, a repairman would not test it being called out on a Saturday and all.  It would require you to sail the boat, a major undertaking. The boat was nicely equipped with all instruction manuals for all instruments. The autopilot would say “Sensr ERR”. Maybe the sensor didn’t work? Bill and I went through the entire boat to try to find the autopilot control box. We could find the sensor arm and adjusted it to turn a bigger angle, but it didn’t work. Out of ideas I just started reading the rest of the instruction manual. Chapter 2: Calibration. Calibration? Wait a minute, if the sensor arm was replaced then the calibration probably didn’t work either anymore? Maybe you can do another calibration while underway. So we sailed in circles... in lines, went hard to port, went hard to starboard, midway, calibrated the electronic compass, figured out the boat length, turned 90 degree corners. See no.3 on the map on page 1. And finally, it worked!!!


Text Box: It was like a picnic table out at the high seas with an occasional dolphin cheerfully greeting us...

I was now the undisputed hero of the boat. With a working autopilot there was no need to carefully watch the compass and turn the wheel all the time. A watch now only included checking for “neighbors” (other boats) every 15 minutes or so. That was easy living. People cheered up. Life was easy, weather was good. It was like a picnic table out at the high seas with an occasional dolphin cheerfully greeting us. We had a splendid dinner with an amazing sunset to follow. We were cruising a good 10 knots over ground as long as we took care to follow the Gulf Stream.

Picnic time at the open sea !


Monday Day 3

I always enjoy the dog-watch from 4am-7am. You start when it is dark and see the sun come up. In the darkness you can see the fluorescent algae at the bow of the boat. Sometimes you can see a steam of fluorescent fish or even a whale, although I haven’t seen that yet. If the moon is down, there is a thousand more stars visible compared to near a city. I keep thinking of Krishnamurti and the secret sages of India in these situations. Why do you have to embed yourself in endless detective stories, you in reality had heard before in a slightly different version, or watch movies or see new stuff all the time? The secret sages of India lived in times, when the Hindus imposed lots of stupid rules on life, all-prevalent, so there was no escape. How do you escape in such a society? Well, you sit and watch the ocean, you forget about calling it “water”, “air” and so forth and just inhale the experience. Take it in without concern for analyzing it, how long time you use, without distinguishing between observer and the observed (ok, but don’t fall into the water!). Admitted, it is a passive philosophy, but why is a rat’s wheel better?

So around 10am I felt terrible, weak and queasy. I was genuinely afraid I was seasick or something. I ate a couple of Aspirins. Someone mentioned breakfast. Wait a minute, I haven’t had coffee for several days now. And the coke was caffeine-free. The coffee on this boat required you to open the gas on the deck (“new boat problem”, the electrical gas valve at the tank was stuck open), start the generator, grind coffee beans, somewhat brew the coffee despite the missing coffee machine. A broken Bodum provided the filter for the beans. What’s freaking wrong with instant coffee I ask??? Well, amazingly, just the smell of the coffee made me perk up. Ok, I am an addict.

We saw more dolphins jump around. Why bother to jump out of the water all the time, I wondered? Paula had the answer: “Because I can!”

Text Box:  “As long as we reach Hatteras as soon as possible;  We really want to make it to Hatteras before any weather does it”...


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