Tuesday, November 20, 2012


I don't think we are alone on Ladybug in our love/hate relationship with passage-making. Rani has told me that she regards passages as a necessary evil. I think she stayed around for this one because she felt that with her on board to watch out for me, my chances of making it to NZ in one piece would greatly improve! She admits that sailing is not a first love for her and that she would rather be hiking on some mountain trail than be out here on the ocean. For her, cruising is a rather inconvenient way to get to very cool places. Sill, she obviously enjoys aspects of each passage - the days when the seas are calm and a gentle breeze ghosts Ladybug along under blue skies and puffy clouds - the nights chock full of bright new stars - the wildlife.

I love to sail, but these long passages are a test of my endurance. I swing between being enraptured by the whole thing and wanting to sell the boat as soon as we arrive in New Zealand. I love the challenge of making progress despite light airs and rolling seas, but only to a point. After two or three days of rolling around in the same part of the ocean, trapped in the middle of a high, I have found that you must re-focus away from the goal of arrival. The alternative is to fall into a foul mood. I think that most of us cope with this by carrying plenty of fuel and motoring when things start to reach this point. And everyone has a different threshold for this.

Having 'Melody' nearby on much of this passage has helped me remain focused on the passage itself. Holger is usually in a good mood when we chat about weather and progress and gently reminds me that we should appreciate the quiet days out here. While he, too, looks forward to getting to New Zealand, Holger clearly enjoys his time on passage. This makes a refreshing change from the majority opinion in the fleet, which, at this point, is that it is high time we were all in port.

Once you start focusing obsessively on making port, you lose much of the ability to enjoy the days and nights out here. You run the diesel all day, to make a few more miles, even when there is enough wind to sail. You refuse to deviate from the straight line course and fail to take advantage of a breeze that may want to waft you a little to the east. And so on...

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