Trip Reports

Hand Jive (09-Dec-2002-21-30):
9:30 PM local time, Monday, December 9 (2130 Dec. 9 UTC) 17 01 N 041 00 W. Temp. 80, Humidity 71%, Cloud Cover 30%. Thirteenth day at sea.

Greetings from the crew of Maverick.

We just sailed by the place where, about 3:00 this afternoon, the 45-ft. Hunter "F-2" was abandoned by it's owners, and sent to the bottom of the sea It's about two miles deep here, and it occurs to me to wonder whether it's hit bottom yet. We reported in an earlier dispatch that it has lost its rudder, which actually fell out of the boat. An emergency rudder was fashioned by a square-rigger, but after trying for several days to get to their landfall with the backup, it also broke away. The owners, a couple, were exhausted and a fellow ARC boat took them and some of their possessions aboard and will deliver them to St. Lucia. Scuttling a boat is a pretty desperate measure and it seemed a little curious that some extra crew on another nearby boat wouldn't have just gotten aboard and sat on it for the three weeks or so it would have taken to float to the Caribbean. A two hundred thousand dollar boat is worth a few weeks of minimal comfort.

We've had another problem on Maverick, but I don't think we're at the abandoning stage yet. We discovered that the main water tank has some yucky growth in it. We may have enough other water to get to Grenada, and maybe we can filter this stuff. Ship's Nutritionist Terry Shrode tells me water is one of the main food groups. We've drunk the water in Eritrea and Thailand and Borneo and we have to go to a ritzy marina in the Canaries to get a tank full of bad water. There seems to be no water available out here in the Atlantic. We haven't been able to get Maverick to self-steer in the sea conditions we have at present. We tried a few different sail combinations today and nothing quite did it. She's capable of doing it in lighter conditions.

So we're doing a bit more hand steering to help out the fragile autopilots. Cruisers almost never hand steer, and it's kind of weird to be on a sailboat you are used to tacking and jibing and maneuvering all the time, and yet never touch the wheel except getting in and out of harbors.

So give me the helm of a thirty-year-old race boat with twenty knots of wind behind me and turn the stereo up to "stun." We'll be surfing at eight or nine knots. There goes a sunset, and a moonrise, and, as brother Tolmie would say, I'm "all the way live."

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