Friday, November 03, 2006

Point Judith, RI, to New London, CT

34.1 nm
Wind: NW calm to 15 knots
Seas: 2-3 feet
Maximum speed: 7.9 knots
Maximum speed under sail: 4.5 knots
Average speed: 4.0 knots
Latitude: 41°20.18’N
Longitude: 072°05.71’W

It was a gorgeous, sunny day today, with sun almost the whole day, but ice-cold. My feet are still pretty cold, but I’ve been finally warming up after anchoring. We actually have a wireless connection tonight, and I was excited about posting my blog entries, but it turns out they’re all firewall protected. Bummer. So even though my Airport card is showing three very promising bars, I have no internet access.

I guess civilization is starting to sound appealing. I think civilization is appealing in direct proportion to how itchy my head is. Being aware that I haven’t had a shower or a shampoo since Tuesday morning makes me aware that I’m back to the life of a homeless person. A homeless person with a lovely 33-foot yacht, but a homeless person nonetheless.

Still, life is good. I’m still working out the details of this life—how to do things like do the dishes, make the bed, keep everything in its place, that sort of thing. This morning I picked up, made sandwiches for lunch, and did the dishes, all while Karl motored out of the harbor. The problem with that is that we didn’t get the sail up until we were out in the ocean with three-foot seas bouncing us around. It’s amazing how much less stability we have when using our engine. Once our sails are up, we stiffen right up and seem to glide right over the waves. Secret knows she’s not supposed to be motoring in that kind of weather, and she doesn’t let us forget it.

So I had to round the boat into the wind and stay there while Karl tried to hoist the main and avoid falling off the boat. We had also decided to reef, partly as practice and partly because there was allegedly a small-craft advisory in effect until ten. I say allegedly, because as soon as we got the reefed sail up successfully, the wind completely died. We pulled out the entire jib, but even with it, we were barely going a knot. Occasionally, though, the wind would gust really strong, always dead on our nose, and make us heel over sideways.

I wanted to keep sailing, as always, but we did have a deadline today. We were supposed to be in New London to meet Karl’s friend Wade, who’s supposed to sail with us down the Connecticut coast this weekend. Say what you will about Wade, he’s our only friend crazy enough to come and put his life in the hands of rank amateurs. I’m looking forward to it, even thought the boat is crowded enough with two people who are in love with each other living aboard. The plus is that we have to get forty more miles down the coast in order to get him to the bus that he can use to pick up his car, so we have to make some progress. It did mean that we had to motor all day today, though. We left the main up, which adds some lift as well as giving us stability. We did get going up to eight knots, according to Karl! The computer only recorded 7.9, so that’s all I’m giving us. Hull speed for a Ranger 33 is supposed to be 7 knots, so I’m pretty excited about it. I would be more excited if we had done it under sail. I’ll be happy when we record a day of five-knot average speed all under sail.

It’s crazy how obsessed I’ve become with the pedantic everyday life of sailing already. How much the wind is blowing and where from. How calm an anchorage is. How fast we can eat the fresh vegetables and how fast our ice is going. How cold it can get before I keel over and die. Right now, I’m in my full rain gear, with my lower body in my fifteen-degree sleeping bag under the table. My fingers are numb, because Karl left the top hatch open when he went to go pick up Wade. I would close it, but I don’t want to get out of the sleeping bag. I’m considering making a pot of tea just so I can warm up the cabin. But I have macaroni and cheese in my belly (big surprise there—that one’s for you, Dean), and I’m content, cold and all.

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