Monthly Archives: November 2013

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Prologue

I thought this might be an appropriate prologue to steal from Ruth Moore: I once see a whale with a gold tooth , He riz right out of the sea. And opened his mouth in the morning sun, And showed that tooth to me . And once I was fishing the Deep Ground With nigh six pound of lead , And I caught a cod as big as a man , And he Had a man’s head . O there ain’t no end to what I’d tell, Once I was well begun ; Like seeing The Devil rise from the sea Instead of the morning sun ; Like sea-snakes lashing the moonlit sea , With their terrible lollopins , And the little mermaids with their diamond eyes And solid silver fins . For some have eyes to see strange sights , And such a one I be , But I ain’t known as a honest man , And nobody Harks To me .

Bermuda dreams

Hello all stations , hello all stations , hello all stations . Ever since the first time i heard those words crackle over the SSB , sky wave skipping from hundreds of miles away , I’ve been captivated by offshore sailing . That was back when jimmy carter was president , loran was the last word in electronic navigation , and people worried over the prospect of global winter . I think it was the year the Chesapeake iced up . I was sailing outward bound pulling boats back then from may to October in maine , and the Caribbean sounded as mysterious and exotic to me as the far side of the moon . It’s hard to imagine now but back then seeing a cruising boat on the coast of maine was an unusual thing .now you have to watch out for cruise ships . The Caribbean then seemed like totally another world to me . When I finally got there it was even better than I could have imagined . The light , the colors , the flowers ,the trade winds , the warm water , coral and fishes , foxy’s . It was like dying and going to heaven . And the first leg to Bermuda was an epic sail . We left in November from Boston harbor on a bowman 46 . The owner , a bank owner , had moved up from a hinckley B- 40 to the Holman and Pye British built bowman . I think they’ve become oyster yachts now . The bowman kind of reminded me of an xke jag ; very elegant and sleek , with sexy extreme tumble home in her counter stern . Bond .. James Bond , if he had a yacht . I don’t think the wind was less than 25 to 35 the first two or three days . I slept forward and I had the craziest dreams . The motion was about like being inside a washing machine . I almost never remember my dreams but I vividly remember dreaming that I was trying to walk down the street but my legs and arms moved randomly in ways I had no control over . It wasn’t scary like falling off a cliff or something violent but it was like the ultimate in frustration and angst . One dark and stormy night as we changed jibs ( no roller furling then ) the guy at the winch by the mast got smacked in the head by a flying fish. He didn’t know what had happened til he looked down and saw the fish flapping at his feet . The blue earthquake of waves in the gulf stream was endlessly fascinating by day . I think i saw a sperm whale .
Standing in the dark windy , wet , cockpit , steering by the glow of the compass light was a trial . But then St George’s Bermuda and the perfect protection of her harbor was ample reward for the trials of getting there . Everyone smiles on Bermuda and every day fresh boatloads of gobsmacked sailors arrive buzzing from the adventure of getting there , while earlier arrivals are planning their departure for the Caribbean .virtually every boat in st George’s has just made a major ocean passage . Like pilgrims or a community of migratory kindred spirits . So tonight I sit here waiting til everything is ready for departure and think of the words of Yuko Tada one of the first generation of solo round the world racers back in the 80’s who said -” my boat like rodeo ” . I try to imagine turning the boat Sideways 45 degrees then shaking it – for days at a time , and thinking about what will happen . Not that I expect that kind of sail , but it could be like that . Anyway , I hope I get the glitch in the radar figured out , finish stowing way too much accumulated stuff , reeve two new halyards , and set up a new fiber Solent stay to replace the old gormy heavy wire removable one , do a little last minute shopping and get Chris back his truck ,tomorrow so I can leave the next day with some good high pressure behind me . More to follow