Starfish or bolster spooning

Our plan was to sail almost 500 miles straight through to our next destination. This distance would take us over four nights, but even if we wanted to do smaller hops there are few along the way. Single overnight passages are the worst, followed closely by two-night passages. Your body never gets to adjust to this awful sleep schedule that is sailing 24 hours a day. We have done a few three and even a four-night passages in the past, so this would be right up there with our longest passage ever. Good timing and practice for the 30-day (estimated) passage across the Pacific.


Leaving Guaymas behind, finally

We had set out from Guaymas on a Monday, just as the late morning’s wind began to fill in. Within a half hour we had the sails up and were headed South down the Sea of Cortez. Kerri and I take turns “on watch”, usually in 4-hour segments. We stopped being strict about it long ago. There is nothing more wasteful then to go “off watch” only to lay there wide awake, so we just stay on until we get tired and then call the other person up, who stays on until tired, and repeat. For the most part we aim for four hours, but we often do five or six hour watches, allowing the other person to get more sleep, which in turn gets you more sleep as they are more rested. This is what we did for the 490+ mile, 99.5 hour voyage. Just on watch, and sleep, not much more. We would make sure to spend time with each other for breakfast and dinner of each day, but for the most part we were always alone.

126 miles in 24 hours, not bad.

Not a whole lot happens over a 5 day sail, 40 miles off shore. We only begun to see other boats on the final one and a half days, as we got closer to Mazatlán. We saw only a single whale, and to the best of my recollection no dolphins came out to play with Meriwether. The wind was fairly nice to us, with good down-wind sailing winds from sun up to sun rise. In fact, we sailed for 33 hours straight on days 1 and 2. Usually, after sunset, the wind would calm to the point that the old Perkins would be called to action for 10-12 hours until sunrise.

The worst of it all was just the short, steep sea state. Four foot swell every six seconds meant we were rocking back and forth a lot. Our bodies were never given the chance to relax, unless we were laying in bed. And to accomplish any rest, we needed to get creative with how we slept so as not to just roll back and forth on the bed – not very sleep conducive. I took to my normal napping pose, which Kerri refers to as “starfish”; face down with all four limbs spread out. This flat/wide body will not roll, which allowed me to sleep. Kerri chose her own method which was to surround herself with every pillow on the boat, then big-spoon the largest bolster we have. She would just be wedged into the birth with no room to roll, so she too slept. What ever works.

The majority of the first 3 1/2 days of our 4 1/2 day passage has been on a beam reach with confused seas. We started the morning out on a nice pace in (relatively) flat seas after a night of motoring, but after the winds picked up and the tides turned, the rollers came back with it.
I started off the first couple of days staving off seasickness with my trusty Stugeron, but forgot to take one sometime yesterday and realized I didn’t need it anymore, even with the uncomfortable sea state. I’m taking the opportunity on this long passage to start getting more used to acting like a functioning human while under way in imperfect conditions. Something I’ve never really the hang of. Usually I just sit in my little corner of the boat and don’t move aside from perform basic boat and bodily functions. This time, I’ve been cooking simple meals, getting some work done, and other basic things that I’d normally just put off until we’re back at anchor. It’s helped a lot and makes me fell better about the impending three+ weeks straight of this (though I expect we’ll have much more comfortable seas for a good amount of time out there versus this Sea and all of its land effects. – Kerri

The only real significant event over the course of the voyage was a SpaceX launch that was just oh-so-perfect for us. Just after sunset and lone in the middle of the sea, and here comes a rocket across the sky. Crazy, crazy, crazy cool. Ironically, I read the next day that SpaceX intentionally launch at this hour just that long, bright, trail which is referred to as the “jellyfish effect” for obvious reasons.

We arrived at our next destination – a tiny island well off the mainland – on Friday early afternoon. After four nights, and just under 100 hours at sail, we were happy to drop the anchor and rest. We would start tomorrow’s adventure tomorrow. This night was just about being able to sleep side by side for a change, which we did almost before the sun had set. The voyage total was 494 miles, beating our previous record of 482 for our longest sail to date. Soon to be eclipsed by a 2800+ mile sail in a couple weeks.

You may also like...

3 Responses

  1. Rob says:

    The space shot picture was great! I’m jealous… It’s hard to imagine being alone on the boat like that.
    Good luck with your next step!

  2. Lotok says:

    I think everyone will be saying they are jealous, I am not different. What an amazing thing to do.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: