Night watch under a near full moon
05.59.40N 171.30.45E. 03:20. Wind 15-18 knots ENE. Boat speed 6.5 knots
I love the sound of water rushing past the hull in the wee morning hours. I’m sitting in the comfy captain’s chair in the cockpit with the brilliant path of moonlight off to my right lighting up the white frothy waves under the rail. The boat is quiet for a boat, and I have the world to myself. I had just finished typing that line when the wind gusted and the sheet came loose from the self- tailing winch. I’d seen the squall about six to eight miles out on radar, but I hadn’t expected the wind so soon. Boy, is that a loud noise when the headsail starts flogging in over 20 knots of wind. I called Wayne for help with that one, and no sooner was that mess sorted out than the steering quit. Talk about déjà vu! On this passage 15 months ago, we lost rudder control. That became quite the adventure as Wayne had to dive and go rudder wrangling. This time Wayne returned with the news that the seals had failed on one of the hydraulic cylinders. The good news was that he has an extra set of seals and he can rebuild it. The bad news is that when he took it apart, he discovered a broken fitting- for which we have no spare. The rudder is hard over and the sails have backed. We are doing 1.5 to 2 knots in the wrong direction. We are in the lee of the atoll called Mili and that means the seas are quite flat. That makes better working conditions down in the workshop/engine room.
Meanwhile, I’m sitting back here in the Captains chair watching the sun rise and waiting and wondering about life. I’ve been sailing long enough to know that these kinds of breakdowns are commonplace on boats. I love the cruising lifestyle, but I wouldn’t ever be able to fix the things Wayne can fix. That is why I didn’t think I’d ever cross oceans alone. If we end up steering with an emergency tiller, it will be the best rig ever. But I don’t think that will happen. My bets are on my husband to get the steering working again. And instead of sitting here worried about what will happen next, I’m thinking about how lucky I am to have found this guy – the perfect guy for me.
5.53.34 N. 171.30.63E. 10:00 am. Wind 18-22 NE. Course 125. Boat speed 6.5-7 First 24 hours made 130 NM
After 4 hours of slowly going backwards, we are now underway with a fully functioning steering system and autopilot, and once again, I love the sound of water rushing past the hull – and I love sailing with Wayne.