24th June 2018
Day Eleven and I’ve settled into the voyage. I know this because this is the fourth day of strong headwinds and, I just got the clarinet out for half an hour and now I’m sitting here writing this. In effect, life goes on.
Until now, I would spend hours at the chart table fretting about whether to tack of worrying about not getting a Navtex weather forecast.
But then, as if on cue, today has been a very good day. It began when I looked out on my hourly inspection and found the trailing generator had come partly adrift. It could wait. I could go back to sleep. Do it later… do it after breakfast.
And that’s what I would have done – yesterday, when it mattered to me that it was 4.30 a.m. and any sensible person should have been asleep. But now suddenly I found myself saying: “Do it now.” I looking at Chiefy. He regarded my coldly from his perch behind the chart table. Apparently I needed a stuffed bear wearing a Guernsey and a red neckerchief to help me to remember that “if a job’s worth doing”, it’s also worth doing now.
It was while I was attending to the generator that looked down at the self-steering. This had been troubling me greatly with its rhythmic clonking which echoed through the engine compartment like a sound-box. I assumed it had something to do with my not drilling the holes in exactly the right place. I had tried packing the joints with little pieces of rubber. I had a makeshift lashing holding it in alignment…
But now I looked closely, wasn’t that bolt loose? In fact, wasn’t that bolt about to fall out any moment?
Surprise, surprise: It doesn’t clonk any more.
Over the course of the next couple of hours, I found the key to the battery compartment and the washing up brush (in with the lubricants and underneath the pasta). Then I found out how to make the boat go faster: More sail. It felt to me that I was putting too much strain on the rig driving through big seas in a welter of spray but she loves it. Mind you, it does make life on board something of an acquired taste: My world is permanently heeled to 25 degrees and hitting a big wave at five knots is enough you off your feet (and if you happen to be in the loo at the time… well, I’ll leave that to your imagination…)
It would be easy to complain about this. Indeed, I have a suspicion that I have been complaining to myself for the past three days – more, if you count the calms coming up the North Sea. But no, that’s just what we happen to have got at the moment.
In fact, now I think it might be lunchtime (it’s ten past four) and the trailing generator has been making so much electricity at five knots that the other half of last night’s beer might even be cold…