Wow…what a few days! We are closing in on the 300 mile mark quick! The remnants of Tropical Storm Fernanda are giving us a bit of an extra push. We are making an average of 6.2 knots with just the headsail! Big swells out of the east today…some 15+ footers. Hard for me to gauge, I’m not the best at it. But they were big.
I spent today crafting a tow bridle and working with BoatUS to get a strategy down for getting into Pearl Harbor. We are having fuel filter issues and can’t run the engine. Luckily, we have the solar panels which are providing a bit of power for our electronics.
We will need to be towed into Pearl Harbor which, to be honest, is a bit humbling after sailing 2500 miles. The engine is clogged with dirty fuel. It’s probably a simple fix, just need the right fuel filter. But, I forgot to make sure it was on board before we left. It is always the simple things. In any case, we can’t run the engine which is a pretty big deal.
Other small things have been breaking on the boat so we are coming up with ways to fix them. The compass light is going out intermittently, so we are using a clip on book light Lisa, my mother in law, gave to me for Christmas. Works pretty well. Willy has been the man with coming up with ingenious ways to fix stuff. He’s always willing to hop into the bilge or engine to figure it out. Absolutely stellar. Quite a lifesaver to have on board.
Last night we had to reef* the mainsail in the middle of the night. It was a lesson in how quickly things can go wrong when we do them too fast in a highly dynamic environment. Simple process, but in the dark, with wet decks, and in a pitching sea things get complicated. The winds had picked up enough that we just wanted to run with a headsail alone as we could get a better course. Rather than talking through the process, we knew what we are doing after all, we just went to it.
During the middle of the procedure, I was at the helm, and Willy asked me to “head up” (point the bow towards the wind) as this would alleviate tension on the mainsail and allow us to reef it. Rather than head up, I accidentally beared away (put the stern through the wind) and we did an uncontrolled gybe. The boom swung from one side of the boat to the other and almost knocked Ryder into the water and almost nailed Willy in the head.
A very serious situation. Two things on a boat that can kill you; the boom and going overboard. Luckily Ryder was safe and no one was hurt. I felt terrible. We were close to a very bad night and really, it was my fault.
We got the main reefed and all calmed down. Needless to say, I didn’t sleep well after that.
There have been so many lessons learned during this trip. Not just about sailing and the sea, but about life, about myself, about others. I’m still trying to digest all of them. But, one that has hit home since last night is that we all make mistakes and the key is to learn from them and become better for next time. I feel like this is a lesson I’ve learned often but life keeps teaching me. More to come on this…
In the meantime, we are making plans for our port call and which tattoos we are going to get to commemorate the occasion.
We are all safe and in good spirits; but certainly in need of a shower and a good nights rest.
Much thanks to everyone following along, this has been one wild ride (still some to go!).
Until then…Stay Gold
*Reefing a sail is a process where we make the sail area smaller thereby reducing pressure on it from the wind and lowering the center of effort on the sails. It’s something we do in high winds to make the boat more controllable.