The Joy of Competence

All day we bounced along in steep wind waves overlaid upon a contrary swell. At times it seemed we were sailing in a cauldron with an invisible spoon stirring the waves into perky, breaking peaks and back eddy valleys. Anthea went up and down and side to side, and doing anything below was an acrobatic endeavor. If you’ve seen the Charlie Chaplin film Yukon, recall the scene of the cabin teetering on the edge of the cliff and the plates sliding quickly down the table and then back. That gives you a good sense of what cooking below was like. Chef Devon rocked it. He managed to dance with the waves to stay upright, grabbing hand holds during particularly nasty pitches. Bracing himself, he dove into the fridge to grab veggies, staggered around the settee to unearth brown rice and grab the pre-made Indian dinner foil pouches, and then prepared a full dinner for us all. It is for conditions like these that we bought some pre-prepared entrees, so fortunately Devon didn’t have to invoke his full gourmet self in the midst of the pitch and roll. However, he still made sure to dress the green beans with olive oil, salt and pepper before serving them, gaining our enduring admiration. That task alone required judging a safe moment to open the cabinet, grab the oil, wedge it on the counter and close the cabinet before other items spilled out. Then he braced his body for the two handed maneuver of dressing the beans and stowed the oil without catastrophe. The pre-packaged Indian food, which would have been barely tolerable ashore, tasted divine, and the green beans were the highlight of the meal.

After dinner, Anson stood the first night watch. At the change of shift he implemented his brilliant system for poling out the jib without any load on the system, thereby removing the risk of crushed fingers or foredeck lunges as the sail plays tug of war with the pole during the frantic moments of getting it locked onto the mast. Anson rigged a block on a running line, used a low friction ring that he spliced to set up the perfect angle for jib trim, and rigged a topping lift, down haul and foreguy line to stabilize the pole after clipping it onto the mast. With a line led as a lazy sheet he was able to re-run the jib sheet to prevent chafe on the lifelines and clip it into the block. Then he pulled on the running line for the block to position it at the end of the pole. He never paused to think, or evaluate, as he and the design were one. I had the easy job of helm, while Mark assisted Anson, following his every command, as he watched an engineering brain at work. Anson orchestrated this rig in the dark of night, on a pitching foredeck, while stepping over flying fish and dodging spray, clipping and unclipping his double harness as he moved from bow to mast to midships and back. It was as close to a dance as an engineer could muster.

Competence is a beautiful thing to witness.
11 degrees 36.35 minutes
123 degrees 30.8 minutes
Yesterday’s run: 157 nautical miles

6 thoughts on “The Joy of Competence

  1. What a vision, Kim, thank you! Of course all of us lubbers are admiring the competence of every one of you every day, including in calm seas during daylight! Wait . . . stepping over flying fish??? — very much love to you all, Irene PS Laurie figured out how to show us on a map where you are. So cool!


  2. Bien que je ne comprennes pas grand chose au vocabulaire nautique, je constate que tout va bien, que vous allez tous très bien entre un fils grand navigateur et un un fils grand cuisinier mais tous les 2 grands acrobates.
    Bon vent et continuez à donner des nouvelles, ça donne l’impression de voyager avec vous


  3. Dear sailors — I am amazed every day not only by the absolutely breathtaking wonder of your adventure so far, but about your ability to write about it with such depth and detail. Thank you for sharing your journey with your followers. I await each entry with baited breath!
    Laurie (charting your voyage in SF)


  4. Wow!! I’m completely in awe of all of you….for many, many reasons….writing, cooking, jib rigging, all while rockin and rollin…..I’ve spent just enough time on sailboats to be able to feel it…yes, the olive oil and everything else jumping out of the cabinet.
    Hope it smooths a bit….
    Deborah T.


  5. I don’t talk “nautique” either, but I sure can imagine Anson’s brilliant “line dance” and Devon’s green beans! WOW!


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