Flying Wing & Wing

The wind came up yesterday, directly from the east. We’re going directly
west. Sailing directly downwind can be a challenge. Until just a few
minutes ago we were sailing wing and wing. That means the jib is out on
one side and main sail out on the other. Usually, they’re on the same
side. This really got our speed up and we’re now only about 70 miles
from Niue. Unfortunately, that means arriving around dusk or after dark.
There is a full moon and this is an “open roadstead” anchorage with
mooring balls; Susan is confident that we can handle it. The ride for
the last couple of days has been easy too. We won’t arrive on Sunday,
which is very good, and the passage is soon to be over.

As Robert Lewis Stevenson said in a letter to a friend, “And yet the sea
is a horrible place, stupefying to the mind and poisonous to the temper;
the sea, the motion, the lack of space, the cruel publicity, the
villainous tinned foods, the sailors the captain, the passengers—but
your are amply repaid when you sight an island, and drop anchor in a new
world.” This quote is quoted in “The Happy Isles of Oceania” by Oahu
resident Paul Theroux. Theroux goes on to add “Sailing the sea was a
monotony of doldrums interrupted by windy periods of nightmarish
terror.” Well these two gentlemen got it right.

The one thing they forgot to mention was the bumping into stuff. I’ve
hit my head and arms over and over as the boat suddenly throws me
sideways. This morning the boat hit me. We had and accidental jib of the
main sail. We had a “preventer” on to prevent this from happening, but
it didn’t hold. I was sitting in the cockpit with Steve when this
violent action happened. The main sheet block slammed into my left upper
arm. There is sure to be a healthy bruise there in a couple of days. I’m
glad it wasn’t my head.