Sunday, November 2, 2008

Race to the Barn

November 3, 2008--During my watch on the evening of the 1st, I was treated to a clear sky and a very, very calm sea. There was a new moon, and I believe it was Venus that was very close to it. The water was so calm that even the stars and planets were casting reflections onto the water. It was hard to believe how beautiful it was. We were motoring because the winds had dropped down again, and we need to continue moving forward.

On Sunday we had pizza for lunch. The day was mainly overcast, but we didn't have any rain, and the seas were moderate. I served some wonderful pork with green beans and fresh tomatoes for dinner. It has definitely cooled off. The water temperature during the night was down around 60 degrees, and we are all wearing our foul weather gear and boots during our night watches. Steve had rain during his whole watch last night from midnight to 4 a.m. I made plenty of coffee during the day, and quite a bit of it was gone by this morning.

When Gary came on watch at 4 in the morning, he and Steve decided to reef down the sails. Gary had cranked the line on the reef down, and Steve was on the coach roof tying down the reef points in the main sail when he realized that a bird, who had been on the deck of the boat for several hours, had had his tail pulled into the turning block during the reef. He was squawking like crazy as Steve grabbed him and pulled him loose--minus a few tail feathers. He flew off and did not come back.

Today we had cloudy skies with some rain showers. There have been squalls all around us, but, luckily, the winds have been moderate. One particularly ominous looking squall had us putting in a third reef, but the winds never developed as it passed over us. The seas have built somewhat, and we are now on more of a reach, which in turn heals the boat over making cooking and sleeping a bit more difficult. The weather reports that we are getting indicate a cold front approaching New Zealand that will have higher winds so we are pushing very hard to arrive before it does. This has meant running the engine and motor sailing to get the best speed that we can for the conditions. Right now it looks as though we will make it in time. Tracen J, who is 35 miles behind us, may have to deal with worse weather; however, out here you can never tell what will happen. It looks as though Scarlett will make it in just fine since they are about 100 miles ahead of us. They were able to leave early last Monday so they got a heard start. They have, however, had worse conditions than we have experienced so far.

Because we thought that we would have a longer passage, we are madly trying to eat the fresh meat and vegetables because we can't take them into New Zealand. I don't think that we can finish everything, but we are certainly making a valiant effort. I am sure that we will all be a few pounds heavier when we get in!

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