Thursday, June 26, 2014

Day 11: Halfway! Another Vessel! And The 3-Minute Rule

Half-way mark Passed! 1,450 nautical miles offshore, 1,366 to go.

Today we passed the halfway mark, and we also saw the first sailing
vessel out here and the first vessel of any sort for over a week. When
we heard a voice, crystal clear, hailing us on our VHF radio, we all
raced to the cockpit to listen and look around. S/V Hannah Rocks
spotted us behind them and we had a 15-minute conversation with them.
Now they are a few miles ahead of us, and we might catch up to them
sometime in the night. They are heading to the Marquesas. It's hard to
express how elated we all feel knowing there is another boat out here
doing the same thing we are doing (albeit with a different destination).

Today passed quickly with a brisk breeze of about 20 knots pushing us
along at 7-8knots. We had to veer a little bit north of our course in
order to keep the swells bearable, but we are sailing so fast we will
make up the distance in no time when we turn westward again later
tonight when the swell subsides.

Carmen received a haircut today and I spent two hours tying embroidery
thread around a braid, she looks stunning of course. 

As we spend more and more time relying on the wind to guide and propel
us, we realize how fickle and changeable it is. It can be infuriating,
deciding what to do to get all we can out of the wind, making a sail
change or adjusting the course, only to find that the wind has changed
from the time we made the decision (to reef for example) to the time
that we make the change.

So Gina in her infinite wisdom instituted the 3-minute rule. It goes
something like this: if you notice a change in the wind and find
yourself thinking we need to adjust or change the sails or (gasp!) turn
on the engine, STOP and wait three minutes. If at the end of the three
minutes you still feel the change needs to be made, then do it. Since
she and I came up with this strategy, we have noticed that often, within
the three minutes, whatever situation that led us to believe we needed
to change things up, dissipates. For example, if we notice that the
wind has been dying down and we think "hmmmm, maybe we should take out
the reef," 9 times out of 10 after three minutes the wind is back up and
no change was needed. Patience.

It occurs to me that this strategy might be a good one to implement in
life. Have you ever made an impulsive statement or hit SEND on a
hastily-written email only to regret it later? Have you barked at your
children or partner or friend, only to wish you could take it back, take
a deep breath and re-phrase the hurtful words? I think I will use it
on Terra Firma also.

For now, I send this with love and return to the downwind sleigh ride
aboard S/V Sweet Dreams.
P.S. Animal sightings: An Albatross (we think) circled the boat for a
entire day, never landing but soaring around the boat all day and into
the night. A few other seabords come and go, it is amazing that they
are out here 1,400 miles away from shore. Flying fish, about six inches
long, look like a flock of small birds when they burst out of the water
and fly for a surprisingly long time skimming the surface before diving
back down. One landed aboard the boat overnight, and was perfectly
preserved in mid-flight. A few nights ago a pod of dolphins swam with
the boat, leaving a trail of phosphorescence in their wake. We have
lost two lures to 5-foot+ long marlin and caught a dorado yesterday.


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