A wind worth waiting for

Another night underway waking up, getting up, looking around, resetting the alarm. All is ok as long as I’m making less than 4 knots. In the clear night, I can see 4 times that far and I’m the only light not on shore. CAP’T LEM made 24 miles this way before the dawn broke bringing with it wind speed I don’t want to sleep through. This morning, it’s the wind I’ve been waiting for.

First, it’s 6 knots we jump to, then 8, then 10 and I don’t want to sail 10 knots downwind in a building sea. I much prefer a steady 6, so it’s out to douse the headsail and shorten the main. I let the CAP’T LEM go into irons to relieve the pressure on the main as I bring it in one roll of the boom at a time. It makes me glad I practiced sailing her out of irons back on the lake now that the seas have built 6 to 8 feet.

Oh, but it’s from the right direction! It’s from the west and I want to go east and there is nothing ahead for a hundred miles but water so I press on. By noon the waves are taller the me standing upright in the cockpit and coming faster than my 8 knots. The course I’ve set takes the wind a few points on the port quarter. The boom is down tight and the traveler is secured. I stay ever mindful of a jibe. My motorcycle helmet is kept at the ready should I need to go out on deck to deal with a wild boom, but for now she’s tame.

The waves come up behind and lift the stern. The speed accelerates. It rolls under amidships where it crest in a fizz like a shook-up soda pop, then drops the stern and raises the bow giving the vessel a hobbyhorse ride. And they do it over and over and over. It’s just what waves do.

It looks as though the wind will turn on me one more time before I’m free and clear to head north along the coast of Labrador. But for now I am making glorious head way with beautiful clear skies over all.

My position at 2000 on the 20th of July is Lat. 50° 05’ 04’’N ~ Lon. 061° 00’ 17” W. I’m sailing 6.6 kts under a reefed main alone in a 20 knot wind. The sun has set. It’s going to be along night.

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