Tuesday, January 10, 2012

What Do You Do During a Crossing?

Sherry taking a turn at the helm. Look at the angle
of the horizon! How many degrees are we heeled?
Some of you have been wondering how we pass the time while on a crossing. After all, there are no docks or anchorages along the way. No towns to visit; no sightseeing. We just keep going once we leave the Chesapeake Bay and head out to the Gulf Stream. (That's right, we do not follow the east coastline south and then cut over!)

Of course, everyone has their time at the helm (as in steering with the wheel or managing the autopilot). I don't spend as much time at the helm as the guys since I manage the galley and the radio net. When the autopilot is working, the helm is not too difficult. But you do have to remain alert, constantly be checking around you, watching the sails and maintaining the course. We did come across a large wooden container floating off to our starboard. Fortunately it was during daylight and we missed hitting it.

Bob and Larry off watch.
In addition to good conversations, Bob was busy reading, reviewing a book and using his iPad during his free time. He publishes articles, too, so he was doing some writing. Bob and I have had many good discussions around the topic of leadership. And as an avid reader, he can recommend many books.

Larry enjoyed listening to music and often had his earphones in while at the helm. Sometimes I would forget that he was "plugged in" and chatter away with no response! Maybe he had the earphones in because I WAS chattering away! Humm... Larry also used his Kindle to read some of the 200 books he has downloaded. And he intrigued Dennis with his iPhone apps! Unfortunately, Dennis does not have any electronic devices that allow him to download games, apps, etc. since they are firm equipment. So he is a frustrated non-app user!

Dennis is checking the mainsail during a squall.
Dennis used his off-watch time to exercise, log, navigate, check the boat regularly, make repairs or adjustments and sleep. As the Skipper/Captain, he has the responsibility for the well-being of the crew and vessel. He read a couple of books, too.

I used my time to blog (even though the entries couldn't leave my computer until we reached land), plan and execute mealtime, do some housekeeping, review the navigation plan and enter information into the chart plotter, act as a radio net controller, read and sleep. I probably had more sleep than the men.

Bob's aft deck bucket shower
Some days we could spend more time below than others. On really rough days, you want to be top side. We took time to practice some maneuvers on calmer days: "heaving to", bathing and showering on the aft deck (I used the real shower below!) while the guys were on deck, etc. If the wind isn't moving you along, you might as well entertain yourselves! If you were following us on the tracker, you may have seen when we were actually turned toward Virginia in the middle of the crossing! It was just a "heave to" for lunch one beautiful calm sunny day.
Not a good day to go below!
Everyone is getting weary of the
huge swells and hand steering.

Once we were into the higher seas and heavier weather, it was more difficult to relax and use the free time. Everyone stayed alert to assist the helmsman and keep a watch on the sea and the sky. Since it was too uncomfortable to go below, we tried to nap with life vests and tethers on in upright positions! Not the best sleep, but better than none.

Is Larry playing Cat's Cradle or what?
Of course, there are some more entertaining times, too! It seems on each trip we manage to make a mess of the fishing line. Sometimes it just happens! Check out this mess.

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