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Air Power - Log day 9

Day 9-Nov 13th.

Being on watch last night, with gusts blowing to 23 kts, made you sit up straight and keep an eye on the wind gauge. Other than the occasional glance outside to see if there were any lighted vessels in our path, we pretty much kept our eyes on the instruments. Primarily, concentrating on the Apparent Wind Speed. This is different than True Wind Speed. Imagine yourself standing facing a 5 mph wind. The true speed of the wind is 5 kts. Now, get on your bicycle, and head into that same wind at 5 mph, and you now have 10 mph of apparent wind in your face. Since we are at an angle, we rely on our instruments to calculate these speeds. The apparent wind determines how much sail we can put up. We are especially more concerned at night. It's better to have this straightened out before then. Staring at the wind gauge is tantamount to staring at your gas gauge in the car, while driving through the desert, listening to Larry King. Will I make it to the next gas station? Keep staring at the gauge, it will help you get there. And, the nervousness keeps you awake.

During this period last night, I got to thinking about this book I recently read, "Kin to the Wind". It was about time I read it. Jill had even written a Critical Acclaim which is printed at the beginning of the book. The author, Moro Buddy Bohn is an accomplished classical, Flamenco guitarist, on the level of Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney and others of that generation. Buddy is a close personal friend of Jill's family and I had the pleasure of meeting him at my own wedding, almost 35 years ago. He sat quietly in the shadows of the church and strummed his guitar. He again appeared at our reception providing entertainment to our guests. (Which of course, he was our guest too). While the Rolling Stones and the Beatles were cutting record deals, Buddy was traveling world, on his own circumnavigation. At the young age of 22, during the early sixties, he set out with just his guitar, in Troubadour fashion, playing his music in exchange for food, lodging and transportation. His journey started in California, and headed east, ending in California, roughly 2 years later. I mention this, because it was his book, his memoir, that provided the inspiration for us to complete our own circumnavigation now, rather than later. However, I don't think anyone wants to here me play the harmonica, or Jill sing. She does however, do well with the guitar, playing some of Buddy's compositions.

Prior to starting on this rally to the Caribbean, we were met in Portsmouth, Va by a fellow name Peter. He is the one that provided our safety inspection. As we were walking around on the deck, he asked where our "Jack Lines" are located. Jack lines are straps or ropes that run the lenght of your deck, which you clip onto, via your harness, when leaving the cockpit and going forward. We pulled these two 40 foot long straps out of the cabinet and told him, we'd have put them on already, if we add some idea how to make them useful. Some catamaran captains have a hard time wearing an inflatable vest, let alone clipping into a jack line. Peter (a mono-hull sailor), thought about it awhile and came up with a good configuration. We now have safety lines covering the entire deck, which we didn't have on our original S. Atlantic crossing. (A picture forthcoming). Peter also made a comment about our liferaft. We carry an 8 person offshore liferaft, because that is what this catamaran is designed to cruise with. During the inspection, he mentioned with just the 2 of us, we may not provide enough ballast (weight) for this size raft. To prevent us from being blown around or flipped upside down if we ditched, we should consider taking additional drinking water, and any anything else to make up the additional weight. Each vessel going off shore is prudent to have a waterproof ditch bag, with emergency supplies to last several days until help arrives. Given the amount of extra room in the raft, in addition to our general emergency supplies, we can bring the entire bar stock from the saloon. That should not only provide the needed ballast, but should we inform the rescue forces of our situation, they may make us a higher priority.

As averse to standard sailing safety gear as some catamaran captains are--we all agree on the importance of the fiddle! Unlike their Appalachian cousins the violin, these fiddles provide the lip around all the counter tops. They look they were designed to keep spilled fluids from reaching the floor, but are actually hand holds to hang onto when this boat's a rockin. It's not the only safety equipment on board, but most certainly the most used.

Only 420 mile to go.

That is all news from Air Power for today.--Dave & Jill

PS from Jill--Dave writes these due to his great story telling ability, just ask my mom sometime about his story about the Santa on top of their Christmas tree. Me, on the other hand, after 35 years in the AF, my writing skills are down to how many acronyms and adjectives can I fit in one line.

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