Trip Reports

The Bath (05-Apr-2001-15-00):
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 view mirror.

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

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