Thursday, May 05, 2011

The Slow Slog

Distance: 109/2117 Day: 18

Even I'm not buying the "slow days are good days for the boat and crew" line any more. The first half of the trip -- despite one day of being becalmed -- we averaged 5 knots/day. Now we're averaging more like 4... when we are lucky. Our landfall target date slipped today into May 10 soonest. This wind needs to hold or freshen a bit, or we are seriously going to run out of patience.

Food, water, and fuel in good supply.

Spinnaker busted yesterday. Actually, it was a fitting way up at the top in the sock. Two swivels separated by a 10" stainless steel bolt. The bolt was showing signs of rust and bent. Yesterday, it simply snapped. DrC and I agree that the thing was clearly under-powered, a much stronger fitting is required. We may eventually purchase a replacement, but obviously that it not possible in the middle of the Pacific. So DrC built us a replacement out of spectra line. Here's the thing about boats... if this line works and does not case chafe or cause other problems, we may never replace the stainless. Sometimes the fix is better than the original. Almost inevitably when you replace stainless with spectra, that turns out to be the case.

Last night was for me one of the hardest nights on helm. The winds varied between 10 to 28 as we passed under and through squall after squall after squall. None of them lasted particularly long, but the cumulative total of steering and worry took its toll. You can not be complacent passing through these squalls. At any time the wind can do some insane thing and pop up to 35 and even considerably higher. We haven't seen it *knock on wood* but that does not mean we don't believe that it can happen. Each time the wind starts to rise, you have to reef. When the wind drops, you shake out the reef. Now most of the night we were able to actually lumber along with a single reef, but there was a memorable squall where I was pulling in the jib, taking a second reef, and untangling a reefing line from the wind generator while perched precariously on a stanchion all the while we bounded over and around wind waves in 27 knots. Of course, literally the moment I had all this in place, the wind dropped to 11. *sigh* It took nearly a half hour for the adrenaline to clear my system. Yes, Mom, I had on a safety harness. It made me seriously reconsider my passage drinking policy.

I made sour dough yesterday. Now, let's be clear. I've had sour dough starter and made bread from it for years. The bread was delicious and tasted faintly sour. This, however, was the first loaf I have ever made that looked and tasted like real sour dough bread. Real Sour Dough Bread for a western American is SOUR. It comes from San Francisco or Seattle, the tang is evident in both the aroma and the taste, and has a crisp crunchy crust. We think the trick was that I made it the night before and let it rise incredibly slowly all night. Then I proofed it and let it rise for another 5 or 6 hours. It smelled divine. It tasted great. The family inhaled it. It's gone. Now I need to figure out how to recreate it. I'll give that a try tonight. I really have nothing else to do.

~ Toast
May 5, 18:00 UTC


jude said...

Your posts are so interesting, funny, creative. Love keeping up with you.

Judy , from the Michigan Conger clan

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