WIND, SPEED, ROOTS


Current Time: 1:52AM

Current Position: North 11 degrees 13 minutes, West 44 degrees 10 minutes

Hi, Everyone.

I don’t know *exactly* how hard it’s blowing right now, because when our masthead (top of the mast) wind indicator unit fell down, that sensing function fell with it. However, having sailed for many years where it BLOWS (in San Francisco Bay, it blows 35 – 40 knots every afternoon, from 1PM to 7PM, May through August), I would say it’s surely in the 20’s, with gusts in the upper 20’s. Probably higher, given how the boat is behaving. The wind is definitely noisier than usual tonight. It’s howling, as it was when we left Cape Town, and it was 35 knots then.

The spray is now coming across the entire boat, so you can’t go “outside” without putting on a full windbreaker or foul weather jacket. The wind makes the waves; the stronger the wind, the bigger the waves. So tonight we are having a noisy, wild ride.

These tradewinds tend to die a little when we’re eating dinner and then come back strongly around midnight. Tonight they are particularly strong. I have rolled up the jib – the small sail in the front of the boat – so it is in “handkerchief” mode, and we’re still hitting 8 knots every few minutes.

This boat could easily sail faster than the human beings in it can stand, even after the human beings have gotten accustomed to the speed. When I took over tonight’s watch, we were going 8 to 10 knots. I’ve decided I’m a 7 – 8 knots kind of gal, especially when one of us is sleeping.

When we’re going 7 – 8 knots, we are still racing along, and things on the boat are moving around a bit. But when she starts going faster than 8 knots, things that were moving around a bit start flying. And, those canon waves underfoot make the boat shudder each time, instead of just making noise and slowing the boat down for a second.

Some of the plants are struggling to come back from getting their roots baked. Another lesson learned. We’re starting to dip into the canned fruit now, and ate the last of the St Helena zucchini tonight. I have butternut and gem squashes left, but that’s the end of the veggie supply (except for onions, potatoes, and sweet potatoes – but they’re not “green”)… so it’s too bad that some of the plants are fading. The spinach plants are coming up nicely, but they are only just tiny seedlings at this point. I do think we will be home before they’re ready to “harvest.”

Now that we are coming into the last leg of this trip, I can see that I overdid it on the food front. We’ll be eating this stuff for a long time (or contributing to a food bank). I just didn’t know what to expect, and wasn’t sure the fridge and freezer would be with us the entire trip – so had to have a completely separate set of supplies in case we had to resort to a no-fridge approach. Better too much than too little, however, given that the closest grocery store is at least two days away.

From a dessert and snack standpoint, I was going to bake brownies and bran muffins, but the heat makes us hesitate. It turns out the mousse pudding mixes are working out nicely for Philip’s post-dinner, during-watch dessert. No eggs are needed, and all you do is add milk and try to pretend your hand whisk is an electric beater. One thing we are going to look for when we get home is an egg beater.

A note about “ships passing in the night.” Philip said today that sometimes the ships come as close as they do simply because the guys who are driving them are bored and they are interested in other boats they see out here. Makes sense; there isn’t much to look at, unless you are a wave addict. Somehow knowing this doesn’t change the “Um…how close is that ship going to get?” factor when you’re on watch at night.

Two corrections…in a previous email, I said we were traveling northeast. Not. Just a wee-hours-of-the-morning, fingers-ahead-of-brain typo. We are traveling northwest, along the upper coast of South America.

Also, I’m sure some of you wondered why I have such a low opinion of “appeals” when I am, in fact, a marketing and sales expert. The answer: I’m quite comfortable helping CEOs and entrepreneurs – who have managed to create a product or service that truly meets a need – get that product out into the marketplace, where those with the need can find it and buy it. It’s the organizations that “make people mad” and “make people sad” in order to collect money (or readership) that fall into another category in my mind.

Well, that’s it for tonight. I’ve been making progress on the book, and have been getting enough sleep to write decently, so I’ll switch to that now – after putting on my windbreaker and checking things “outside.”

Much love,
Philip and Kristin

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