Dec 12 2009

Best Sailing of the Trip (and then the Doldrums) . . . .

Published by at 6:46 am under Mexico,The Adventure,Wylie 39

6am came really early this morning. In fact, it was so early, our alarm clocks even missed it (and we all overslept). But, rise we did, and as a race crew, we are already intimately familiar with rigging the boat on the way to the startline. Fortunately, we discovered that the Grand Poobah responsible for the the start had, in fact, overslept, as well. Suddenly, we were like students who were late, but not really–the teacher was behind us . . . .

We had, in fact, rigged most of the boat the day and night before. All of the boat chores were completed. Things were secured. Other things were stowed. It was a pretty tight ship to begin with. In the darkness, however, I spotted the topping lift tha had snaked its way part of the way up the mast–and, that problem required sending someone aloft–and, Nathan was our guy.

After retrieving the topping lift, the wind was already following us and we wanted that spinnaker up as soon as possible. The Grand Poobah informed the fleet that we would have a rolling start, and we got that spinnaker up and the motor off immediately following.

What would transpire over the next few days had a dreamy, surreal quality to it. Nathan caught a second Yellowfin Tuna for the boat–not 45 minutes after sunrise. (We cleaned it immediately, but saved it for lunch/dinner. Sushi at 7am is a bit much.) The wind held steady at the low end of Marishanna’s performance range, and continued to build over the course of the next day and a half.

By the time our nighttime racing came around, the winds were blowing a steady 18knots. The waves were perfect. The angle of the wind was just right. We were holding at a steady pace of 10knots–it was phenomenal. We were smoking.

And, so was the entire fleet. We were all enjoying this perfect sailing weather: high speeds, comfortable rides, warm weather. All of us were ooohing and ahhhing each other on the radios . . . .

As we pulled within 20 miles of Cabo San Lucas, the wind came to a halt. Zero. Nothing. The water became a mirror. Our sails were limp. There wasn’t even a dark patch of water to chase.

In situations like this, the symptoms of someone affected with the racing affliction become most evident. The cruisers would say something along the lines of, “Hey, that wind was good while it lasted and got us really close. Time to turn on the engine. We’ll be there by breakfast.” It is a simple and practical statement. They are thankful for what they got.

Our response is akin to that child sitting at the table who won’t eat his brussel sprouts. “We are NOT turning on the motor. We’ll be disqualified from the sail-only division.” Period. Final. No arguments–from any of us.

And, so we sat. We watched as the cruisers motored past us. Fortunately, no one was close enough to wave, or say kindly things. But, we watched all the boats that he had worked so hard to overtake motor by and beat us to the showers and to breakfast.

And, we continued to sit. After about an hour, we got about 1 knot of boatspeed. And, then it was up to 2.5 knots, and then it was a little higher. All in all, it took us 6 hours to finish the remaining 20 miles to the finish line–our record-shattering attempts were in shambles, but our principles were intact.

We turned on the motor, gave the steering to Otto von Helm (our Auto Pilot), and the four of us sat on the foredeck, cracked beers, poured our offerings to King Neptune, and toasted a fantastic sail from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

3 responses so far

3 Responses to “Best Sailing of the Trip (and then the Doldrums) . . . .”

  1. ginger857on 03 Jan 2010 at 5:14 pm

    hi Tim…this is the first time i’ve checked out your blog…excuse my ignorance, but are you in training for your around the world trek or have you started it?…either way I will be checking in on your journey from time to time. I do think about u now and then, and I went searching for that email u sent out last October…and luckily I still had it and was able to find your blog. Are u still in cabo…i was there back in the early 90’s when there was chickens running around on the tarmac at the airport and dogs on people roofs barking at u as u walked down the street…it’s a bit different now, I prefer the later. I hope your trip is going as planned and you had a really great Christmas and new year, k? Peace, your friend, Ginger

  2. Timon 05 Jan 2010 at 9:56 am

    Hey Ginger–So, great to hear from you! Still here in Cabo. Thought I was just training, but it appears I am going to be down here cruising around Mexico on the sailboat by myself into March–so, somehow training turned into a 6-month free-sample pack. 😉 Christmas and New Years were both fantastic–though I missed family and friends. Hope you had a great holidays, as well, and that you are keeping warm in those Colorado winters (which I still oddly miss). Peace to you, too, my friend. Tim

  3. ginger857on 03 Feb 2010 at 3:56 pm

    On a sailboat by yourself?…wha happened to your com padres, what happens in March?? so, you live on the boat, right… What do you do to get buy? …allot of Q’s, sorry, i’m curious though…how are sponsorships going…? well I could think of worse places to b stuck…on a sailboat in cobo, sounds pretty good 2 me….take care, peace, G