EIGHT DAYS OUT OF SAN FRANCISCO

Time flies when you’re having fun.  I just realised its eight days since I left san Francisco.  Days at sea run into each other, there is no demarcation or need for holidays or weekends.  When I look at the daily progress on the chart it seems so small but its steady and relentless, day and night until we arrive.

Two years ago, I was not even considering sailing across an ocean by myself.  I didn’t even contemplate going to Alaska on a yacht.  Once you open your mind to opportunities it’s amazing what you can achieve.  One can always find many reasons not to do something – but the fact is you only need one reason to do something.

Today we had the breeze from astern again.  Not much sail trimming to be done, just set it up and sit back for the ride.   It’s not the fastest sailing but it is relaxing – apart from the occasional roiling.  It will be nice if the wind holds steady through the night and not the up and down winds we have been experiencing for the past three nights.

The sun made an appearance after an overcast morning.  I had shorts on for a while until it became too chilly in the wind.  Still a wind chill, even at twenty-six degrees north.

I ran the engine for fifteen minutes.  Just to make sure the batteries are topped off.  Normally the solar panels take care of all the boats electrical loads and I don’t need to run the engine for electricity.  However, the last days have been mainly overcast so I just wanted to make sure I had plenty of electrical juice in the tank.

I just watched ‘A Fish called Wanda’.  An old movie and years since I saw it first.  Still quite funny as you would expect from John Cleese.  Quite a star-studded cast, even a young Stephen Fry has a part in it.

Beer o’clock will be beer this evening.  Last night I had Mount Gay Black Barrel rum.  Excellent rum, but pretty strong if you have to be up and down playing with sails all night.  Voyage distance 1,047 miles.

WET, WINDY AND COLD IN BC

It’s now a week since I left sunny NZ.  The first couple of days at Canoe Cove were not too flash, I caught some disease (United Airlines food poisoning maybe) and felt awful.  For two days I was pretty useless, feeling cold and miserable and couldn’t eat.  Luckily, I stayed at an Airbnb just five minutes walk away from the boatyard for four days so had a warm bed to return to each night.

A Cold Afternoon at Canoe Cove. Photo, Ray Penson
A Cold Afternoon at Canoe Cove. Photo, Ray Penson

Well its rained every day since I have been here, real spring weather, rain on and off.  When the sun comes out its glorious for a few minutes then the cloud and bitterly cold wind kick in again.  Not the best antifouling weather and it’s taken me 4 days to get the hull ready for the final coats to go on.  When I did the antifouling in Alaska last year I saved money by using Petit antifouling paint.  Well, cheap is not always good and I have spent a lot of time sanding and scraping the Petit paint down to a good substrate.  This time I am using International CRC paint and hope it will do a good job on its way back to NZ.

I just received a bunch of Pacific charts from Redwise ship delivery.  So kind of them, it will save me money and give me paper chart back up should my electronics fail.  Redwise is the company I do ship delivery for and they are a top quality outfit and very professional.

Looking back on the past week I don’t seem to have achieved much.  Truce is in a terrible mess, I have sail bags heaped in the salon and spare gear scattered all over the place.  I had a new shaft and dripless stern seal installed over the winter and want to leave the aft lockers clear for when we get back into the water so I can see if we have any leaks.  On Tuesday when we floating again I can start stowing things and getting shipshape again.

Tomorrow should see the first coat of antifouling finished – I cant wait to be finished with this job.

 

STEAMING INTO 2017

The start of 2017 finds me standing on the bridge of a vessel steaming up the Malacca Strait, passing Port Dickson.  It’s a beautiful balmy night with a faint offshore breeze bringing out the smells of vegetation and wood smoke wafting the water.

There’s searchlights ashore piercing the sky, must be part of the New Year’s celebration.  A few of the ships passing up and down the straits are giving New Year’s greetings over the VHF radio, they are a bit disjointed, it looks like they are on different local time zones.

I am now on my way to the UAE, delivering a new ship from China, a fairly routine voyage.  Looking back on the last year there has been a lot of water passing under the keel of various boats I have been on.  2016 has certainly been a year full of adventure and interest.

Sailing on a calm sea in the early morning hours is a great time to have a look back and reflect a while.  Since I took delivery of Truce last March in Canada I have had an amazing journey, visiting so many interesting places, awesome Alaska, wildlife, meeting so many different people and learning a new kind of freedom and peace away from everyday distractions that don’t add to the quality of life.

But it doesn’t take long to start thinking about the coming year and the return of spring to Canada and the preparation that needs to be done for the coming year.  In 2017 I want to bring Truce back to New Zealand, that will entail a long ocean voyage across the Pacific.  I have crossed the North Pacific countless times in ships and I have a deep appreciation of its awesome power.  The South Pacific is somewhere I have never ventured and I have not crossed any ocean in a vessel as small as Truce.

So, steaming into the New Year and thoughts turning to preparation for the next adventure.