This is now day six of our Pacific Crossing, and what a difference it has been compared with our Atlantic experience. There we set out into stormy and unpredictable conditions that required countless sail changes, trim adjustments, and even a few sail repairs…. the type of experience that can make one question this whole business of crossing enormous oceans at walking speeds (and tie your intestine in a knot too). The first week of our Pacific experience has been very different. We are comfortably into the trade winds now, and this time they’re behaving the way trade winds are marketed in all the sailing books, meaning a steady 18-20 knots blowing from the rear quarter. These conditions are pretty much ideal for fast and comfortable cruising. We’ve been flying our bigger sails most of the time and are tweaking every rope and pulley to get the most out of the boat. In the process we’re getting to know Tamarisk in a way that’s difficult to explain to non-yachties, but to other sailing voyagers, it requires no explanation at all.
It’s normally not a good sign when you start having conversations with inanimate material objects, and even worse when you develop a relationship with them. But with a sailboat, in the middle of a chaotic waterworld thousands of miles from anything, it’s normal. In these situations she ceases to be just a “material object”… she’s everything you have and really the only thing that matters in your life. This is why when she talks, you’re wise to listen closely. Every creek, pop, whoosh, knock, ting, and bang means something, and when you ignore her, the punishment is usually swift and severe – a halyard breaks, dropping the sail into the water; the autopilot pin snaps, sending you chaotically for the helm; a pipe breaks, shit suddenly covers the engine room floor. With time, you learn her quirky language (she won’t learn yours), you learn how to treat her well and she reciprocates, mutual respect and loyalty develop.
With Tamarisk, we feel we’re finally getting there. She’s been reliable lately and confidence inspiring, and yesterday she did something we’ve been waiting for – she clocked her first 200 mile day since we’ve been on board (205 actually). It’s a small milestone, but it tells us we’re doing things right. Our level of enjoyment and comfort with the boat also brings a new dimension to our voyage – we now are honestly enjoying the sailing part of this whole experience – it’s no longer a chore. Increasing our performance, learning about the boat, reading sailing books, understanding weather, currents, and world sailing routes, all of it actually has become fascinating, and this is probably the reason we find so many salty dogs out here after so many decades on the seas.
So as we comfortably and efficiently bob along in the middle of nowhere, we find ourselves relaxed. We have time to read, fish, and sunbathe on the deck just like we’re supposed to on a long distance sailing journey. Javi studies his French while Piers and I study our Spanish, Javi even does a daily sunset yoga routine. We’re all looking forward to the Marquesas Islands now 2000 miles ahead, but for the time being, as strange as it sounds, we’re happy right here at 4′ 45 S, 107′ 01 W.
Only one photo for now because bandwidth out here is expensive…. more to come once we get to civilization.