Marquesas Day 3

It was an interesting day! If you look at our track, you can probably see some nice, straight lines and crisp turns when we had wind and then, around 4 to 10 pm, more meandering s-curves with a defined c where our spinnaker lost a battle with a small but fierce squall.

We were in the middle of a calm patch of wind but confused seas and the spinnaker was difficult to manage. I heard John tell Sunil, “Well, now you have plenty of wind” and then I heard flapping and the winch spinning and saw John on the trampoline, gathering in piles of yellow sail that was trailing in the water. I ran to wake up Joe and, well, we picked up the pieces and pulled out the gennaker.

Conveniently, after that point, the wind shifted forward so we wouldn’t have been able to use our spinnaker anyway. But we will miss big old Mellow Yellow in the days to come. We still have our rainbow pride sail but it was nice to have options!

I was trying to think of an analogy for why the sail split. The best I can come up with is that it’s like when you (or maybe your kid) takes a plastic straw (which you would never use, right? Because it’s bad for the environment) and rolls it at both ends until there’s just a fat bubble of trapped air in the middle. Then someone flicks it and it pops. I think that’s what happened to our spinnaker. Except instead of someone flicking it, a gust of wind hit it just right (or wrong for us) and it popped.

Moving on from destruction to death, it was rather a gory day on Charm. Apart from the usual mosquito and gnat losses. we also caught and killed a small yellowfin tuna. Once again, Joe refused to let me conduct science experiments on the fish, but I did get to try fileting it with moderate success.

More mysterious was the death scene by the mast. As you can see from the photo, there appears to be a “chalk outline” (OK, maybe it’s ink) of a small body. We think it might have been the squishy thing Joe stepped on this morning. Sure looks like a case of dead squid.

Lastly, and sordiidly, there is Sunnil’s self-admitted “special relationship with the sea.” He came up in the afternoon and asked for stain remover for an oily substance on his sheets. Next, he had stripped the bed after saying he had discovered the remnants of a flying fish in the sheets. Nothing like this happened when his wife Swagata was with us. Strange things happen at sea but flying fish in your bed? We are going to have to keep a closer eye on Sunil. 

I discovered two small squid bodies in the toe rail on the port side and Joe tried to feed a small dead flying fish to our tuna. Why is there so much death on this boat? I have no answers.

Sailing strategy – Jaja (my mother) has been asking for insight. Basically, we try to make the boat go as fast as possible with the wind we have and we try to go where the wind is most likely to blow.

Right now, in consulting our PredictWind forecast models, we think the wind is to the south of us. However, the Marquesas are at 254 degrees. So we are trying to stay close to
The rhumb line while working our way south when the wind angle allows. Tonight, on my watch, we were mostly going at 240 degrees which was a good compromise between speed and progress towards our destination.

Off to sleep, perchance to dream!

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