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Noisy Night

October 3, 2011

Day 5

Noon Position–
By GPS: 8.41.25S by 149.22.74W
By Sextant: 8.37S by 149.25W

Course: 20 degrees true until 1300; then due north
Speed: 5.7 knots
Wind: between 11 and 13; E then ENE.
Sea: 2 – 6 E
Sky: 25% occluded. Scattered light cumulus, some organized into light rain squalls. Bar: 1012
Temp: 79 degrees

MILES
Since last noon: 119
Total for passage: 487
Daily Average: 122

NOTE: For those interested, the noon to noon mileage runs are noon by my wrist watch, or what we call “ship’s time” and the miles are a straight line measure between the two noons as calculated by the chart plotter. I am and will stay for the remainder of the passage in GMT -10, that is, Hawaii time zone. (The noon sextant shot frequently referenced occurs at a slightly different time than ship’s noon.) In fact, Murre usually sails further each day than is captured in this statistic. For example, yesterday’s line between the two noon markers looked like a lazy S; we can only follow the wind’s lead. But in order to keep things simple, navigators usually take one “location snapshot” a day, and for generation upon generation, that snapshot has always occurred at noon.

As it turns out, we did not sight Caroline Island. Wind backed more into the east as the sun set, allowing a course more NNE, and I did not hesitate to take it. Birds in mixed flocks of boobies, terns, and noddies played over the water, some heading in the direction of Caroline as the day grew orange and then dark, but I never saw a tree nor the flash of white water that would have indicated her reef, even though we were windward by only ten miles.

By morning we had gained back eleven of the twenty-one miles lost against our rum (straight) line course over the first few days. Remember, I have plotted an “ideal” course between Bora Bora and a spot in the Pacific at 5N and 145W at which point we can begin the slow turn for Hawaii, wind permitting. Am trying to get as much easting out of the way as early as can.

Sleep last night was repeatedly interrupted by the banging of my gimbaled stove against its outer bulkhead. Apparently it is not designed for being close hauled on the ocean where the boat’s natural heel is compounded by being thrown even further over by a wave. The whamming sound is not unlike hull striking rock and my sleeping head is but 12 inches from the stove, so the noise is bothersome. After having dreamed several solutions, each having to do with digging out power tools and my stash of wood deeply buried in the stern locker, I shoved a can of soup in the space between stove and lower cupboard, freezing the gimbals and shutting it right up.
Murre is upset with me today. It is my custom to sit in the companionway hatch, head and shoulders out into the weather, the remainder cozily inside the cabin. It is my watch station, and from here I sat just after sunrise, sipping coffee and admiring how clear was the day and how dry the boat when Murre saw fit to scoop up about ten gallons of water at the bow and fling all of them straight at me. No time to duck, and I got heavily soaked. I did think to cover the coffee cup with a palm, however. Water has come over the cabin top only four other times today, and each time I have been sitting in the hatchway. If I am not there, all is dry.

I cannot understand the intent. I am not driving Murre overly hard. This point of sail is called “beating to windward” for a reason, and there’s only so much I can do to make things easy on the two of us. I’m not shy about reefing down, for example. Maybe she thinks I need washing. Whatever it is, it has me riled, and the last two dunkings, the last while I was trying to shoot the afternoon sun, unleashed a reprimand of length and volume that is, for me, uncharacteristic, but I’m not sure the point is getting across.

Those who think boats are inanimate objects haven’t spent much time on boats. One can shove a can of soup in the gob of a complaining stove without fear of reprisal, but a boat must be approached with tact and subtlety, two qualities I thought I had in measure, but my application is not reaping reward. As revenge I’ve put off bathing until tomorrow. Given how much toweling off I’ve had to do today, the job is half done anyway.

The major win for today was the fixing of the steering wheel squeak, which worsened throughout the night. This morning before breakfast I disassembled the collar where the wheel exits the captain’s seat (the most likely culprit area), and inside it was swimming in grease, as it should be. I re-greased the worm screw, already gooped up, tightened and refilled all the grease caps, and then sprayed then entire assembly in WD-40 for good luck. Still it squeaked. I snapped off the windvane and played the wheel back and forth, and sure enough it was tight, but where it was binding was a mystery. This is a thing to worry about. There are only three absolute requirements for a boat; that she float, that she go, and that she steer. I can do without the chart plotter and running lights and, god forbid, coffee. Steering I must have. Finally I stuck my head as far as it would go into the captain’s seat and noticed the shoe where the worm rod seats furthest aft. One long, soaking spray with WD-40, and the wheel unbound, the was squeak gone.

end

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