Friday, November 18, 2016

Dick and Libby's Tarwathie Cruising Log

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Single Handed but Tweeting, Part 2

Umatilla, Florida

I'll offer some 5 cent observations on Peter's tweets.

  • It is my theory that blue water sailors are subject to roller coaster emotional swings, with hills in good weather, and valleys in bad weather.  Single-handed sailing amplifies it. When Libby and I are offshore, one of us is always on watch while the other tries to sleep.  We barely have a chance to talk to each other.  The effect is that it seems very lonely to me, when it is just two of us.  Three or more crew are needed for social interaction.

    Peter mentioned hallucinations at one point.  Joshua Slocumb did the same.  Just thinking about that is a sign of depression. Reading the tweet's you can see Peter's mood shift toward the darker as bad weather caused fatigue, then rebound again after the weather improved and he caught up on rest.

Many people like to describe "heaving to" as an oasis. A picnic on a white sandy beach. It is not. You are in the soup. Ok it is a lot better but it is noisy.

  • Fatigue robs you of good judgement.   Peter seemed to hold up well in this respect.  No major mistakes were reported.
  • Note that in the first two days, the posts mostly anticipated that to come.  In the last two days, the posts mostly reflect on what happened.  To me, that indicates a profound life experience that Peter will never forget.  Libby and I experience that anticipation/reflection swing every time we put to sea.  Departure is marked by exhilaration, and arrival by relief.  Rarely, the reverse happens; departure is marked by dread, and arrival by disappointment that it will end.
  • Things break and you repair them on the fly.  I think that happens on almost any passage.  That is one of the major differences between offshore passages and day sailing in protected waters.
  • Peter's $379 Inreach gadget certainly proved itself useful.  I can see that if we used it, that the message conveyed would be subtly different than a daily blog post.  It is certainly more fun for people like me who followed Peter on the map, and who sent and received messages from Peter during the passage.  I should note that Peter also used his SSB.
  • I was very impressed by the following.  My limited passage planning skills would never have led me to a tactical plan anywhere as good as Chris'.

    Day 7 , 1.6 knots: I just spent the last 2 hours slowing the boat down by pulling most of the sails down and heaving to. Chris Parker, the infamous weather guru sent me an email. He explained that x slowing right down,i should be able2 sail2the BVI but if I kept going I will get stuck in Puerto Rico because of the direction of the wind
  • Peter's AIS receive and transmit did not provide as much protection as anticipated.  There is a good reasons why maritime laws everywhere require a sharp watch at all times.  Single-handed vessels can not comply, and electronic aids will never completely compensate for that.
  • When we are at sea, Libby always provides me with hot meals.  I underappreciated that until I read about Peter's diet   Thank you once again Libby.
  • Peter mentioned nausea, but he never got violently sea sick.  If he had, he would have been in much more peril IMO, because of the added fatigue and decreases in good judgement.
Below is a screen shot from the Inreach page tracking Peter's passage.  It also shows Peter's passage last year from Florida to Bermuda to Maine.

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