Trip Reports

2nd Dispatch from Sea (22-Mar-2001-13-23):
1:23 PM local time Tuesday. 33 01.235 N 124 30.959 W. Temp. 65, Humidity 76%, cloud cover 100%. Seas WNW 1.5 meters. Wind S 3k.

The boys got well throttled on the way out to sea on Saturday. As our friends were watching from a viewpoint in the Marin Headlands, we headed out past Point Bonita, and though the scene may have looked idyllic to them, what was going on on the boat was a different matter altogether. Around the Point our autopilot jammed up. This meant not merely that it wouldn't steer, but also that we couldn't steer either. To disable the autopilot meant in this case to take off the steering wheel and remove it, which, it was immediately apparent, was the only solution. So in the middle of the shipping channel with some lumpy seas, we took off the wheel and got out a hammer to get the autopilot loose with the boat carrying on pretty much as it chose. Necessity improved our efficiency tremendously and in a minute or two, mission accomplished. From shore, it just looked like another pretty picture. But we on board have another pictue: no autopilot for the forseeable future.

This was just the beginning of one of the most difficult 24 hours of sailing we've ever done. The seas in the shipping channel, though by no means the largest we've seen, were steep and nasty. As soon as we were able to turn left, after buoy #2, we pulled out the headsail and doused the engine. With the sea conditions as rough as they were, the best we could do was a beam reach--anything lower or higher than that was impossible to steer without flogging the sails; and even the beam reach was not easy to maintain. Meanwhile as the sun went down both crew got violently ill and continued to puke for the next 24 hours; about which more next time, you lucky thing.

What we would have liked to have done was to head strait south but there wasn't a man jack boy aboard who was about to go forward to set the pole or do any other such foolishness. To make matters worse, because it was dark and we were sick and stupid from puking, we couldn't get the vane to steer so for the entire night we had to hand steer in one hour shifts, which sounds easier than it was as it entailed the challenging barfing while not jibing maneuver. As a result of the enforced beam reach, for the next twelve hours or so we went like a banshee on a course of about 240 true, which was unfortunate. We intended to make all of our westing south of the equator so as not to end up beating into the southeasterly trades for the last two or three hundred miles of this passage. Now it is incumbent upon us to, at the very least, not go any further west for the duration.

On Sunday we managed to set the pole and head dead downwind, although there was still some sickness and we were dead exhausted. Now we could head south and covered good milage and when we passed Point Sur the seas flattened out just a little. The wind went light and fluky on Monday, but settled for a direction today. In the last 24 hours we've had to call Luigi in from the bullpen and then douse him in the middle of the night, to end up close hauled in about 4 knots of wind. Where from? The south, but thanks for asking.

Through it all Maverick was in her element which is more than can be said for the crew, and she was just as indifferent to the discomfort of her charges as was the sea itself. Despite her heavy load, she was as fierce as ever, and if she had a complaint about the waves in the cockpit and over the deck we heard none, so occupied were we with our own misery.

It has come to our attention that in one of our recent posts a grammatical error was committed which was so egregious that it requires an abject apology from the crew of Maverick, for whom quality is our most important product. As recompense we offer, at no charge, to persons discovering the error, a free night and day aboard ship, the only requirement being that the above, and the next missive, be read, and, shall we say, digested.

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