Dropping my main sail over and over, I feel a bit like a maniac - up, down, up, down. Now the main is down again for the 3rd time. It's a demanding exercise, manic stuff.
And for the past while; with only a headsail set, the wind has been steady at 25 to 30 knots from the west. And cold. We have been making good progress between 10 and 15 knots towards the elusive Cape Horn, which the Southern Ocean Residents Association seldom stop discussing; and our mystery visitor last night.
Currently I feel very detached from the so-called world living in a small capsule, a bubble disconnected. However the support I am getting is really appreciated. There seems to b a ' head of steam' with Le Souffle du Nord and Project Imagine. Mile by mile, its very encouraging. Likewise in Ireland with school activities and promoting the Atlantic Youth Trust.
I pulled the main down in a 40 knot squall when the repaired 3rd batten had broken. Adding insult to injury, the broken batten, like an out of control swordsman, stabbed several holes in the sail - such was the violent flogging in the squall. Now it's a question of biding time, finding suitable weather to patch it. And away with the main again - hopefully. Happily in the strong westerlies; having no main does not seem to matter a hoot::
Previously I had had to drop the main when a halyard became loose. With a heavy locking device at the end, it proceeded to wrap itself around everything aloft, including the outriggers. It was simply safer to drop sail and climb up the mast and outrigger to solve it.
In many ways in heavy conditions, sailing without a mainsail is tedious. However it is much less stressful. There is no worry about involuntary gybes, damage or the boat going out of control. Instead you plonk along, Now its so easy for gybes and so forth, Generally with the main, we do not gybe over 20 knots, instead it means hardening up on the wind and doing s 360, often difficult in big seas, but safer and time rolls on.
And with time, getting jet lag on a boat happens in very slow motion. It takes so long,its akin to watching paint dry. Each day sailing east, the sun goes down earlier and I find it disorienting. From crossing the international dateline a few weeks back at the 180th we are now almost at a 100. So rather than keep a ' ships time ' I work off GMT which means in practice that it gets dark around 1430 and the sun rises around midnight !
It is supposedly Summer down here. If so, I would hate to be hear during Wintertime. The cold is penetrating, With three layers of thermals, the only way to stay together is to pile on clothes and be religious about wearing oilskins on deck. Regardless the damp and wet penetrates everywhere. And if its not coming externally, internal body perspiration during activities also make my clothes wet. Needless to say the inner layers do not come off, and when they do, you don't want to be near….
However it's the regularity of food, cat napping, routine maintenance work on board and dreaming that keeps me sane, or does it?
Such was the case last evening while in the middle of a review of the day with the Residents Association when we had an unexpected visitor. Probably in his late 20ies he was a British seaman who called himself Cape Horn Man who said he had fallen overboard on a passage and because his body was never found he is locked in perpetual eternity warning passing ship captains to take care:
And my final thoughts are summarized in the final stanza of Invictus by William Ernest Henley; the poem was kindly nominated by Bettina of the Project Imagine Team; who is in charge of the production of their films:
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.