THE CAPTAIN SPEAKS; ZOOMING ALONG IN THE MOONLIGHT

Current Time: 1:30 AM, although we must be ready for a time change soon; the sun went down just before 10PM this evening…

Current Position: North 14 degrees 38 minutes, West 49 degrees 06 minutes

Hello Everyone:

Before I say anything, I’d like to thank my wonderful brother, Chris, for getting this out each night to all of you and for working with Andrew to put the blog together, even though he is a very busy guy. Thank you, Chris.

Well, I’ve been having all the email/blog fun – writing this each night while Philip is sleeping. Time for the captain to make a contribution. I’m a pretty fast typist, and he composes sentences nicely in his head, so it works for me to type while he talks. So here goes…

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1PM in the afternoon, Friday, from Philip:

It’s been interesting looking at the stars on this Southern Hemisphere trip. For example, Orion is upside down, standing on his head, when you are in Cape Town. When I first saw this, it made me wonder how he gets right side up again. Does he do a summersault, or a back flip, when you cross the equator at midnight? No, he actually slowly rotates, as I’ve seen over our nights at sea, heading northwards.

Polaris, the North Star, is not visible from Cape Town. As we’ve been sailing home, I’ve watched the Big Dipper slowly rising above the northern horizon. Night by night, it’s gotten higher, to the point where I should have been able to see Polaris. The distant clouds always obscured the horizon, and I couldn’t see it. Last night, finally, there was a break in the clouds to the north, and there it was. Five degrees above the horizon. It was good to see it again.

Tomorrow night, if all goes according to plan, we should pass the 2000-miles-from-home mark. I’m beginning to think about all the things that I haven’t been able to do on this trip, and am starting to make lists in my head of foods that I want to eat, places I want to go, and things that I want to do. A motorcycle ride to the pizza place, the loooooooong way, is high on my agenda.

I was tempted to rent a motorcycle in Cape Town, but I didn’t think it would be wise; they drive on the wrong side of the road there. While I did become “ambidriverous” in our rental car, I didn’t trust my reflexes enough to do it unprotected, on a motorcycle.

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Back to the admiral. He really did get good at driving in Cape Town. I was impressed.

The moon is shining on the water to the northwest of us as we speed along. Very pretty night. Lots of stars, too. We’re definitely at the higher end of my comfort range, 8 – 10 knots, but the captain and the boat seem happy with it (very smooth ride, not affected by the waves much at all – just gliding – and not much spray), so I’m not going out into the cockpit to shorten the jib just yet. If we start getting into the 11’s and 12’s, that’s my cue.

Although my new “cool” outlook on life means that I’m just casually observing the speed, there’s another aspect of all this, which is that I don’t want to push the boat too hard before we are safely bridled to our mooring in Jamestown. No question, we’re both getting summit fever. We’re now officially less than 2000 miles from the Beavertail Lighthouse in Jamestown.

I guess this is the right time to tell you about Jamestown. It’s an island [Conanicut Island] in the middle of Narragansett Bay, about one mile wide and 9 miles from north to south. At the very bottom (southern tip) is the Beavertail Lighthouse. Why do they call it Beavertail? If you saw a map of the island, you’d understand. Pretty obvious.

The actual town of Jamestown is a picture-perfect small town. There are three churches; one post office where the people are so friendly you go there just to share a laugh; one small but serious grocery store with the best rib eye steaks I’ve ever eaten anywhere, bar none; and several restaurants, from a very fancy Italian restaurant to a delightful deli overlooking “East Ferry,” which gives you a great view of the Newport Bridge and Newport itself, across the bay. One stop light, which is really just a 4-way stop with a flashing red light; beautiful views and lovely houses; and some of the nicest people in the world.

If you want night life, mansions, and tourists galore, you only have to drive across the bridge on the east side of the island, over to Newport, “Sailing Capital of the World.” Jamestown, on the other hand, manages to maintain its rural atmosphere, and we feel very lucky to live there.

After living 6 months in the picturesque but slightly edgy city of Cape Town, it will be so nice to slip into small-town mode again.

Well, Tim W., the book is coming along. Tim is a veteran sailor and was sure I wouldn’t have time on this trip to actually work on the book. He was almost right, but we’ve settled into a routine on this leg of the trip, and the writing is coming along nicely. The editing is also going well (Philip edits my blog articles and books), and I’m happy with the general flow so far. I’m working off a well-edited outline that we had created before the trip, which always helps, and this book (Roadmap to Revenue: How to Sell the Way Your Customers Want to Buy), has been years in the making. It’s a joy to write it.

I think I rebroke my toe today, stubbing it on the divider between the cockpit and the front door footwell. At least, that’s what it felt like. I should have brought my leather Topsiders for this trip, but left them home for some reason. Next time.

I guess the last thing I want to say is that I never realized how uncool I was until I started being cool on this trip. Getting away from the stressful input of the Drudge Report and daily city life has given me a new perspective on the thoughts that fill my brain during my waking hours. It is so easy to slip into cynical mode, even for the little things like a slow sat phone modem – as in, “Oh, great. Dropping the signal just before I’m done downloading. Darn!”. That’s not really who I am, at my core, so it’s nice to get back in touch with that “no worries, we’ll find a way” person. Now I just smile and think, “OK, well, maybe this isn’t the right time to download mail. I’ll just do it later.”

It reminds me of what Horizon is doing right now. The waves are out there, as big as ever – one just pushed the boat around and headed it up – but when you start hitting the 8’s and 9’s (at least, in these conditions), it all just smoothes out. It gets quiet, except for the creaking here and there and the whooshing of the water past the hulls and stern. I have to remind myself we are going fast, and every 10 minutes or so, I step out on to the afterdeck and do a traffic check.

There is a bit of a hum as she gets going faster. You come to know the sounds and the feeling associated with each level of speed. I’ve gotten so I can guess the speed within about 2/10ths of a knot, while in the galley or other parts of the boat. Usually I love going 7 knots, but in these conditions, that’s a little rougher than 8 and 9. The point being that when you’re doing the right thing in the circumstances you find yourself, and your brain is accepting rather than resisting those circumstances, life gets really smooth. At least, that’s the lesson I’ve learned on this trip.

Oh, yes – the plants. It’s the strangest thing. They sway with the boat’s motion. The chives in particular, but the other plants do it as well. As the boat rocks and tips, they do also – as if it’s important for them to be straight up. Am I daft? Just imagining it? Nope. On both counts. 🙂 Very salty dog plants, I guess.

Time for another traffic check, and time to write the “next exciting chapter,” as Philip said tonight. LOL.

Much love and smoooooooth sailing under the Big Dipper, on this slightly cooler night.

Philip and Kristin

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