Posted by: adventuressetravels | May 13, 2011

Going Nowhere Fast

Like a fractious horse straining to bolt, the catamaran leapt forward into the waves.  The boat wanted nothing more than to fly, but I couldn’t let her.

We were on a beam reach, the wind blowing at 90 degrees to the boat.  This was usually the Leeway, our cat’s best point of sail, in other words the ride was almost always smooth and comfortable when the wind was came from this angle and the boat glided across the waves.  This ride was anything but comfortable.  Again and again waves slammed against us with jars that shook every atom in your body.

We were taking a beating.

the wind generator

The ride wasn’t simply bad for us; the boat was literally shaking itself to bits.  Earlier that night one of the steel poles holding our wind generators had snapped in two like a dry twig.  The captain clanged the alarm bell shaking Tony and I out of the uneasy rest we could get in the middle of this tempest.

By the time we got out side, not two minutes later, the captain was nowhere to be found.  He wasn’t at the helm, we both looked forward to the bow and still no sign of him.  Finally I turned around and saw a bizarre sight.

The captain stood on the back deck, each foot in a white 5-gallon bucket of fresh water we kept on the back deck for laundry.  One hand clung to the lifelines and the other was clutching something larger.  Slowly I realized, in the dark night, it was the remains of our port side wind generator.

Somehow on the bucking, pitching boat we managed to secure the dinghies.

the snapped off pole where the wind generator once stood

To this day I’m still not sure how we succeeded in pulling the wind generator back on deck or tie everything on the back deck down with no one and nothing being lost in the inky ocean depths, but somehow we managed it.

By the time the excitement had died down it was my watch.   The captain explained me that even though the boat wanted to fly, I had to rein her in.   The shock of these waves was simply too much for the Leeway to handle.  The wind generator had broken off, the water maker had shaken itself to bits and we couldn’t afford to lose anything more important.

And so, for the next 6 hours I had the boat sail a very fine line; as far into the wind as I could point her to slow our progress down a little.  But the journey was still punctuated with slamming jars that bounced everyone in the forward cabins out of their beds.  We were still going too quickly.  Too quickly, and to make matters worse not in quite the right direction.  We were going nowhere fast.

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Responses

  1. Unexplained matters: why secure the dinghies? why was the captain standing in those buckets? Still, piece captures the confusion.

  2. We sailed with the dinghies suspended from the back of the boat. If they weren’t secured they could break loose and damage themselves or the boat.

    I have no idea why the captain was standing in the buckets.


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