Saturday, May 3, 2014

Night Passages and Other Changes

Some times there are messes to clean up! Here
is one where the fishing line got tangled - again!
Other than island hopping down the Caribbean chain, we have not done much double-handling. I have always wondered and admired the couples we have met who have sailed the oceans for years without other crew members. It used to scare me to death at the thought!

Out here on the Pacific Ocean, there are no island stops along the way. The trip from the Galapagos to the Marquesas Islands was nearly 3,000 NM with nothing in between but fishing boats and a lot of water. We are now sailing without crew to the Tuamotu atolls and on to Tahiti - around 700 NM for the passage. There are 76 atolls to dodge as we move through this area. I am not looking forward to being there during darkness.

We see the most beautiful skies everyday!
Since it is just the two of us, I am now doing night watches which I have not done since we left the Caribbean. We have had three extra people on board through the Marquesas. I like having three extra people for the long passages to help with sail changes and night watches. It was actually quite nice for the last crew as their watch schedule was three hours on and nine off! It does make extra work in the galley with more people.
You couldn't paint a more beautiful picture!

Dennis and I have worked out a decent schedule for double-handling. I take the 1700 to 2400 shift and then go to bed. Dennis can fall asleep anywhere at any time so he can go down right after dinner and get five hours of sleep. Then he relieves me at midnight. I come back up at 0500 and he goes down for a nap. During daylight hours, I spend a lot of time in the cockpit while he does other boat chores.  We both grab naps during the day.

The clouds and light make for an ever changing view.
So far it is working well, but I still would not choose to cross the long legs without crew as I can see how exhausted we would become. Poor decisions are often made by tired sailors. I was apprehensive about doing night watches, but it has turned out to be beautiful and peaceful. And I am comfortably cool which is a relief from the daily heat and sunlight. Fortunately we have only had a couple of small rain showers with no change in the wind.

One night the wind crept up to 23 knots while I was at the helm alone. I had an internal argument with myself as to whether not to wake Dennis up. There was a squall and the wind was strong. The rail was in the water and we were moving at 9 knots - that is fast for us! So I thought: this is my test. Can I ride it out without panicking and not wake him up? Finally, I relaxed and started to enjoy the ride. I knew Trillium was happy at this speed so I rode out the squall. It made me pleased with myself that I did it alone!

Cobb salad on the way up to the cockpit

I have also switched our eating schedule to have our big meal during daylight hours. This makes for a simple cleanup just before I go on night watch. It also gives us more time to connect and have dinner conversation during the day. I think there will be more double-handing in our future.

I have changed the menu some also. I try to prepare something that can be used for several meals and a night snack for Dennis. For example, I made pesto chick breasts so we had a chicken dinner one day, a Cobb salad the next day and Chicken Korma that night. Less mess and less heat in the galley.

Chicken Curry with Pumpkin (a common
vegetable in the local markets year round).
Today I cooked a whole box of rigatoni, so we had some with tomato and meat sauce for dinner and made a pasta seafood salad for lunch. I am lucky that Dennis willingly eats anything I put in front of him and he would eat the same thing for several meals in a row.

While I really like our various crew members and love having them sail with us, it is nice to have the boat to ourselves. One of the concerns I had from the beginning of this adventure was the reality of have someone (or more) living with us all of the time. I think the solution is to have crew for long passages and have some time alone when we get to the destination. I do miss the humor and conversations we had with our crew.

1 comment:

  1. Sherry, I really enjoy reading your blog and seeing the beautiful pictures. Sincerely, Marcie (Hamlin) Mansfield


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