May 4, 2012-Magic Nights
I am on deck and I stand with my back to the trade wind with my arms outstretched.
Over head is a full moon that lights our boat and the sea around us and its brilliance makes the stars harder to pick out, but still I can see the Southern Cross to my left and the Big Dipper to my right.
Plus a million more, there are no clouds.
Our sails are spread wide, like my arms. We have twenty knots blowing from directly behind pressing us forward.
We are flying.
Our speeds are sevens and eights, but below deck the GPS tells a better story; we are making tens or higher, a hundred and ninety five miles a day and more.
There is a current helping us.
But it is silent flying. There is almost no sound on this night, only the low thrush of the bow wave sounding like a mountain stream. There is very little motion other than the gentle lifting of the stern as the swell passes beneath us then an easy slide down the front of the next. Down below it feels like we are stopped. The soft trade wind flows down through the cabin where it caresses the off-watch like a lover's breath.
It is a magic night as we seem to be suspended over the sea and under the sky while they are both streaming silently past.
Two days later there is magic of another kind.
We had a day of rain with no wind. We motored, waiting all day for the wind to arrive so we could set sail. When it did, this time it came from the NE. Now, we're sailing, again with hardly a movement, just gliding along, close hauled, wind vane steering, jib pulling, under a bright moon. It is glorious. I hang my foot on the railing and watch the water flow past my toes.
I watch the wind speed; to see if it holds or drops off and we have to put the motor on again. First I see wind speeds in the lower sevens and then a six. They are dropping.
But the numbers are like the breathing of an animal, they are increasing, then decreasing, then increasing again.
A rhythm is developing. I see some low sixes, but a few sevens still.
Will it go down into the fives or up to the eights?
I see five one time, but I feel strangely confident. I think this will turn out to be a good night for sailing.
I see eight and the waves glide by, and I have no doubt, the trend is up.
Soon eights are steady. Later, a nine appears; it is magic.
Tomorrow we will be in Trinidad.
Fred & Judy, SV Wings, On Passage
radio email processed by SailMail
for information see: http://www.sailmail.com