High Wind, Heavy Seas
| 1:00 PM local time, Thursday, February 7 (0800 Feb 7 UTC) 12 52 N 062 35 E.
Temp. 81, Humidity 75%, Cloud Cover 20%. Arabian Sea, 175 leagues from Oman.
Greetings from the crew of Maverick.
If you take a pencil and draw a line between the northernmost Maldives
and Salalah, Oman, you will have the location of a string of about 30 boats
who are at present getting their brains beat out by the seas created by several
days of sustained 25-30 knot winds, with lengthy 2-3 hour squalls to 45,
as they are on a tight reach for the harbor. Maverick is among them. The
motion of the boat would be hard to convey to one not accustomed to being in
car wrecks. Standing is impossible and crawling treacherous as Maverick rolls
her lee rail under. One boat has lost its backstay and another has lost is
upper leeward mizzen shroud, although both, through a combination of luck and
good seamanship, kept their rigs up. Earlier, though unrelated to the
conditions, Maverick lost the use of its engine, which sprang a leak in the
oil cooler. Master Shade Tree Fixit Man Terry Shrode improvised a repair with
bubblegum and rubber bands, and with our repaired email facility and
Theresa's help, we were able to arrange for parts to be shipped to Oman,
where if things go right they will await us.
To write this, I'm sitting under a tent fabricated of garbage bags and
tape in case we get a splash. It's wet below, as the deck, constantly awash,
is leaking at the partners and the water has collected in a marsh type
environment in the carpet on Maverick's cabin sole. We have the cabin
buttoned up as best we can so things are festering a bit in the hot and moist
conditions, creating a special ambiance.
Adding to the adventure, we have in this area Iranian drift net
fishermen. This type of fishing has earned the animadversion of nature lovers
worldwide as it catches and kills everything it traps in nets strung out over
a league or two of ocean, including, as it turns out, sailboats. Four boats
have been captured in the nets, which are impossible to see as they are set
at night and unlit, and in three cases this necessitated crew diving into the
raging seas in the middle of the night to free them. Since the boat is
helpless, should the person in the water become separated from it, recovering
him or her would be a problem. Maverick is in the middle of the fleet of
fishing boats, and tonight, like last night, we'll run the gauntlet.
Right now, the stove has stopped working so Mr. Shrode is looking for an
electrical fault in the solenoid circuit. But in the main, since we're
fetching our waypoint, we're not doing so badly.
A terrible omission from the list of flags people are cruising under: Canada
is well represented. This means that the proportion of American boats is
smaller than previously estimated, and also that the citizens of
English-speaking nations far outnumber the sailors from all other countries
combined. Well, OK, some Canadians speak French.
Oceans Free, which is actually an Oyster 71, is, like Okiva, stuck in
Malaysia. After getting back into the water following the quick repair to
rudder and keel, they discovered a problem with their prop shaft and packing
gland and had to haul the boat again. They, also like Okiva, have not given
up hope of catching up with us.
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