One of the high points of each day on board “Nor’easter” is the ritual of sending out requests via Sail Mail for GRIB files, which are computer-generated weather maps specific to whatever region we select using a “click and drag” feature on the Sail Mail site. Since we are 500 miles from the nearest land, we access Sail Mail via our Single Side Band radio, which is connected to a Pactor III modem, which converts the analog radio signals to digital information my laptop computer can understand. Sail Mail also lets us send and receive emails, but we don’t give out the address to anyone other than family, otherwise it becomes a SPAM target and overwhelms the system.
Since we left San Diego last Sunday, the GRIB files have told us there was going to be no wind where we were sailing between Wednesday and Thursday. Ever the optimist, I figured they were wrong. They were not. We have been motoring almost constantly since yesterday afternoon, and today, March 7, the Pacific Ocean looks like a mill pond, but with an ever-so-gentle swell that barely rocks the boat.
Our range under power at low speeds (5.5 knots) is about 750 nautical miles with our 66 gallon diesel supply. We also have 11 gallons of fuel in jerry cans. Travis and I have agreed that we’d run down the tank to half full, and if the wind doesn’t materialize, just hang out and enjoy sunshine and calm seas until the wind fills tomorrow.
While this may sound like a bleak prospect for those who have never made a long passage on a sailboat, we are as happy as mollusks. Our five hours on, five off schedule has us both rested and relaxed. The boat is fine, we have enough food for months, and we make our own water. Our Kindle readers are fully loaded with great books, which we are devouring whenever we are not eating, sleeping, or sailing. The Swan has both a forward and aft cabin, each with its own head, and with just the two of us on board, this is a big boat.
Whenever I make a long passage, The “Groove” usually takes me two days to find, but once there, it stays for the duration. My mind is clear, I have nothing I need to do that I don’t enjoy, and I sleep soundly, even when there’s a lot of wind and seas. Travis, who has already crossed two oceans on larger yachts than this, is similarly blissful. Imagine no cell phones, email, Fox News, CNN, stock market updates, or 24/7 coverage of the latest political debacles. Today Travis caught a tuna, and tonight we are having the freshest sushi possible. We don’t have a clue as to the latest headlines, nor do we care. This is fun.