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Slow day sailing but hard work

May 2, 2011

Position: 17.32.320N by 116.45.676W
Course: 230t
Speed: 4 knots
Wind: 11 knots NE
Sea: 4 feet
Sky: 80% cloud
Temp: 70 degrees
Bar: 1011

We’ve made 122 miles in the last 24 hours, not bad considering that overnight wind came more out of the NE and made my heading of 230 untenable with current sail configuration. I ran off west to keep the sails full and quite and by morning was 25 miles north of my rum line to 10N and 124W. Wind stayed in the NE all day, so I took the opportunity to raise the big genoa on the spinnaker pole and I lowered the main so I could add the second reef point.

The simplest jobs on a pitching, rolling platform are challenging. Getting the spinnaker pole down from its storage place up on the mast without putting it or you over the side, for example, or putting a screw driver into its slot in the screw before the screw leaps to a completely different, unanticipated location on the boom.

Wind slacked off considerably in the afternoon giving us four knots over the ground running dead down, but it’s come back up to 10 knots now (4pm), and with it our speed has resumed to nearly 6 knots. With the easing of the wind, the swell diminished too. Now Murre carries the big genoa with main and mizzen and with a minimum of slating. Feels like a smooth ride as I write, too smooth, actually–I keep popping my head out the hatch to see what’s the matter.

Caught a juvenile Dorado (12 inches) within thirty minutes of dropping the hook. Threw him back but not before he’d vomited a pungent paste the color of mercury onto the cockpit. Stunning, magical animal. I’d happily eat an adult, but a young one should get to play in the yard some before dinner.

Wrestles night. Was very tired and anticipated an early start to my sleep cycle, but saw a glow on the horizon as I finished dinner. We were going slowly at that point and it took three hours for the glow to become a large, stationary fishing trawler and for it to be safely astern. Then the banging of blocks and crashing of sails before I put Murre out to the west.

Finished the last of the Avocados today. No matter how one buys them, they all seem to ripen at once. Had to eat two or discard one.

Pleased with our progress. The NE trades are at 120W, less than 300 miles away. Baby steps.

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