Skip to content

Comfort vs Pleasure

July 3, 2012

July 3

Day 13

Local Noon Position (12:40HST)
GPS: 46.34.96N by 157.23.84W
Sextant: 46.36.6N by 157.30W
Low and gray–was surprised to get enough sun for any of the shots, much less all three. Good practice, shooting in such cloud.

Course: 40 degrees true
Speed: 5.5 knots
Wind: 14 – 17 W
Sea: 4 – 6 feet
Sky: Low and gray all day
Bar: 1033
Air Temp (in the cabin): 48 degrees
Water Temp: 43.5 degrees
Sails: All sails up, a reef in each. Wind on port quarter.

Since last noon: 132
Total for passage: 1568
Daily average: 121
Miles to Sitka: 1017

Debris: None.

Ships and other piloted vessels: At 3am observed the NYK TERRA on course of 105 degrees true, making 15 knots for Manzanillo Mexico; due to arrive on July 11. Closest point of approach: two miles ahead. Seemed close.

Birds: Layson’s constant company all morning, but have seen none in afternoon. The Layson’s is the only bird left from our days in Hawaiian waters. Many other brown birds shaped like bullets–what they are no man can say.


My favorite explorer/author H.W.Tillman said that “Comfort cannot be expected by those who go a pleasuring.” By “pleasuring” he was not referring to a tropical vacation at a fancy hotel, where comfort is top of the list, but rather to such things as he had done: sail his old boat from the UK above the arctic circle and into the fjords of Greenland or deep into the southern oceans to climb a wind-wracked rock of an island. “Pleasure”, for him, aligned with “satisfaction”–accomplishing a certain thing of little utility and no promise for the simple satisfaction of having done so, and comfort be hanged.

Tillman would not be pleased with me these last days. He was famously hard on his crew, disliking such signs of weakness as the donning of sweaters and gloves much before the first ice berg was sighted.

But I am not as tough as he.

Each day that we lose another three to five degrees of warmth my mood becomes more grim. This morning the cabin temperature was 48 degrees and it has not shifted all day. It will tonight. It will go down. I calculate that if we continue losing degrees at this pace it will be 68 degrees below zero by the time we reach Sitka. Given my current frame of mind, this does not seem implausible.

The days are drab and gray. Occasionally a low layer of featureless cloud peals back to reveal yet another, higher layer of featureless cloud. For minutes at a time, a wane sun fights through to show itself no brighter than a moon before it is smothered and must retreat. The wind, so welcome as it moves us along so briskly, also bites, the sea, once so blue, is now slate and heavy.

I wear two hats, five shirts, four pants, two pair of socks. I have broken out the *heavy* foul weather gear, itself multiple layers and such a complication of zippers and velcro it requires an operations manual. I now sleep in the winter bag, and I drink all my liquid heated. I’m as kitted up as I can be.

But I’m finding it challenging to adjust. No way around it, it’s no fun being cold when tomorrow promises to be colder still and cold the rest of the way. I am having to remind myself today that I am not here for fun, I’m here for pleasure. At the moment its a tough argument.

One Comment
  1. Lawrence Killingsworth permalink
    July 4, 2012 11:09 am

    Loved the Tillman quotation.
    It is a pleasure (the conventional definition) to read your vivid and engaging commentary, Randall.
    Hey, you’re just about abeam of me. I’m waving.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: