Marquesas 8

March 13, 2019

So the squall wasn’t a squall – it was a weather system of some sort that brought over 12 hours of rain. After I went to bed, it continued raining on everyone. At least it was fair – all watches got equally wet.

The excitement today, apart from the end of the rain, was the autopilot. Ever since Joe installed a new one (ironically because he was worried the old one would go out at some inopportune time), we have had trouble with it. Either it just didn’t work (for the unfortunate delivery crew with a painful trip upwind to Colombia) or it intermittently goes off, to the dismay of the person on watch. Today it was particularly bad so Joe decided to replace the motor with a new one he bought. How has spares for almost everything, except himself.

So Sunil got to hand steer for a couple of hours while Joe and John clambered around on the back part of the boat, a few missteps away from the Pacific Ocean. After the movement of many tools back and forth and Sunil’s stellar driving (not easy with the conditions we had and the pressure to create a stable work environment for Joe and John), the motor was installed and the autopilot is working again!

Hand driving a boat for hours on end can be quite tedious, not to mention hard work when you have inconsistent winds and large-ish waves. So the autopilot is a critical component for a cruising boat. It makes the difference between a pleasant watch and a tortuous one. 

A side note on my luck in husbands. Joe has been sailing for over 40 years but, in my limited experience, the sailing skills are probably only 20% of what is required to have success on extended sailing trips. Invariably, something breaks, and you have only the resources on your boat to fix it. In Joe, we are lucky to have an incredibly talented resource. 

Not only does he do all the maintenance on the boat to prevent issues, but he also plans ahead for almost every eventuality so when issues do arise, he has the parts to fix them. On top of that, he has the skills and persistence to solve the problems. I really don’t know how other boats pull it off. Almost daily, I ask myself how I would solve such and such a problem on my own. I rarely have a good answer apart from keeping Joe on the boat. I have some redeeming features that make me worth keeping as well but they are not quite as essential to the smooth running of Charm’s systems.

Since I’m on the praise wagon, here are some other dedications:

To the Corpus fan club – Thanks for sending those strong Texas winds to us! We’re receiving them daily.

To Becky – a belated thank you for the Valentine’s candy and for the provisioning in Panama City. Thank goodness we overdid it there – we are still benefiting from it on this crossing! The Galapagos did not have nearly the same selection although the produce was fresher.

To Ruth – You will be very happy to know that I channeled my inner Ruth racing voice and nixed Joe’s idea of stopping the boat so he could jump in the water and scrub the water maker’s intake valve. Apart from the obvious safety drawbacks to this plan, I am convinced it would have hurt our race performance! Thanks for the pumpkin – it lasted over a month and still made terrific soup!

To Swagata – Sunil is holding up well but we all miss you. No one is asking me interesting questions and the kids are neglecting their knitting! We are trying to send Sunil home with useful skills like flossing and poker playing and driving under pressure.

To the Treglias- you missed Taco Tuesday! Again 🙁

To Cocoa – Tully misses you. Oh, and your family too. But mostly you.

To Joe’s family – thanks for making him so tough so he can do all the ridiculously hard jobs on the boat and still think it’s easier than growing up with 8 sisters and 2 brothers!

To Aunt Rita, my incredibly gifted, creative aunt and loyal Charm fan – Happy Birthday! We fixed the rainbow spinnaker with sail tape – there was a triangle tear of about 14 inches so not too difficult to fix. We haven’t had the right conditions to send it back up so don’t know if the patch job will hold. The yellow spinnaker ripped down a seam for probably 20 feet so that will have to go to a sailmaker for repair. I think s/v Sky might have a sail repair guy and sewing machine on board so we will check with them when we get to the Marquesas.

Mom – thanks for being our most loyal cheerleader, complete with updated rhyming cheers on a daily basis!

Dad – thanks for supporting us and Mom in her support of us! She was a big help and welcome addition to Charm.

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