| 3:00 PM local time Thursday 5th. 02 45 N 127 05 W. Temp. 85, Humidity
81%, cloud cover 20%. Seas NE 2 meters. Wind NE 10k.|
The crew of Maverick sends its regards to all. We again apologize for
not having written, but there has been little of note to report. We
continue through the NE trades, and for the vast majority of time since
the 27th of March, we have been on a port tack broad reach with 10-20
knots of wind and 6-9 ft. confused seas. We can't figure out why we are
still getting seas from 3 directions.
We of course have tried to plot a good course through the Doldrums. When
we were up at latitude 12N or so, the best information we had put them
beginning at 8 north. The next two days we couldn't get the weather
report from a land-based operation which gives sailors the best route
through the ITCZ, so we just kept heading south, based on the two-day
old prediction. We went past 8, then 7, and now are below 3N and still
we are getting the tradewinds; the Doldrums keep moving south ahead of
us. They are still 300-500 miles wide, but we have hopes that they will
move north to their normal position while we move south, and we'll have
a quick passage.
Two nights ago we had a 45-knot squall. We had reefed down pretty well
since these things were coming through but had been only about 25 knots.
This one was a bit of a bad boy, but the worst damage was that the lid
of the barbecue blew off, which, as it is on a stainless lanyard, we
easily retrieved. That morning early it began to rain and kept it up for
about 36 hours, with a wind shift or two. The crew was a bit fuzzy on
how to jibe, having not changed the sails for so long, but managed to
pull it off without incident.
During the rain we collected almost 30 gallons by using our excellent
water catchment system. This consists of port and starboard deck fills
at a low spot on the deck which are connected through the deck to quick
release garden hose fittings in the cabin. To these we attach a short
length of hose with a valve, and then run this to a collapsible 5-gallon
water jug in the galley area. After the first bit of rain, which washes
the salt off the deck, we block the scuppers and make a dam around the
deck fills with modeling clay. Then we take the caps off the deck fills,
open the valves, and get water which is quite pure, save the odd squid
part. After we're done collecting about five or six containers, we empty
them into the boat's water tanks, and there you have it.
Water conservation aboard is of course paramount, as we started with
only about 80 gallons for what could be a long trip to take care of
cooking, drinking, and cleaning. Vegetables can be steamed with salt
water. For washing dishes we have a faucet at the sink fed by an
electric pump from a saltwater intake, as there is no shortage of the
stuff. Most of the washing is done with salt water, and then fresh
water, which is pumped with a foot pump to constrain use, is used for
the rinse. As regards bathing, the chief method of conservation is of
course its infrequency. This works out fine, as our social obligations
are fairly rudimentary, and one who might attempt bathing every day
risks putting himself under some suspicion of being a girly man.
When appropriate, however, it is accomplished by heading to the foredeck
rather more naked than a jaybird, one should think, with a bucket and a
bottle of Joy in hand. Salt water is fetched from the ocean and, co-
mingled with the Joy, is used for washing. Then one, two, as many
buckets as the bather deems appropriate are dumped over his head. Final
rinse alone is carried out with fresh water, from a sun-shower placed
there earlier in preparation for the glorious event. Those considering
the cruising life should spend some time in contemplation of the image
of a nude, middle aged man comporting himself in the manner described
before embarking on this exciting adventure.
PS: To Judy, who gave us the aforementioned barbecue: We did spot the
Southern Cross beginning at about 12N. It consists of four stars. It
seems to the Captain that almost any four would do as nicely were they
in that general area.
To Norton and the Boys on the road in the Pacific Northwest: Yes, there
are similarities and differences from being on the road. On the one
hand, we have a very large venue, with no audience. On the other hand,
there are no truck stops or girls, which is probably just as well (see
above, re: bathing). We are the recipients of a couple of harps and a
book entitled "Country and Blues Harmonica for the Musically Hopeless."
Blind Boy Shrode doesn't qualify, but after four decades the Captain
feels his hopelessness in this arena is quite sufficiently established.
We'll never be in your league, but Huey better be looking in the rear
To all the rest, too numerous to answer but nevertheless cherished, we
repeat that your friendly words are a balm to the lonely sailor. Make
them brief and send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.