So, Victor tells me I’m the only person who would dare cross the Gulf of Alaska this time of year. I tell him, I can’t help it, by its very nature this trip forces me offshore. If I can’t cross the Gulf of Alaska I’ll never make it around Cape Horn. So as far as im concerned this is just practice for the Horn. After everything I’ve been through I’ve become hardened like a boxer in is 50th fight, the ocean can punch me in the face ten times in a row and I hardly notice. Well, at least thats what I tell myself.
This last gale wasn’t very fun. The wind changed direction, not by a lot, but by enough that I had two different wave trains. The old wave train kept smashing into the starboard side of my boat. I was trying to read a book on the history of the Vikings on my Kindle when a large wave broke and sent my Nalgene bottle (full of water) flying across my cabin. The hard plastic water bottle knocked the Kindle out of my hand and crushed it up against the port side of my cabin. I had 39 books on that Kindle. The Kindle is destroyed, I cant tell you how devastating that is. The few normal books I have are saturated in water and black mold. I have to spend the next 6 months alone at sea with nothing to read but moldy books? I cant read them if I wanted to the pages would fall apart.
Also I went to recharge my little video camera the other day and it started smoking. The strange thing is I always keep it in its waterproof housing. So much for my documentary. I guess it doesn’t matter, the hard drive I was storing all the video footage on was destroyed in the knockdown back in the Bering sea. If thats not bad enough my waterproof, dust proof, impact proof camera was evidentially not knockdown proof and it was as destroyed in the Bering sea. Jeff (the resupply guy) was nice enough to let me have his camera. I don’t know how long it will last. I’ve been protecting it like its a holy relic. To top it all off the modem that connects my sat phone to my computer is dying. It was completely dead the other day. I was able to fix but right now its being held together by rubber-bands. If that dies I can still write blog entries through my Predictwind satellite communicator but there will be no more pictures, Q&A and no more contact from anyone. Also my boathook (Assegai) is bent and will most likely break soon. Sometimes I feel like my world is falling apart around me. What am I going to do without books?
The original reefing system on this Vega was a primitive version of in-boom furling. Except instead on being in the boom, the boom slowly spins around, furling the sail. This means to reef I would have to go to the mast and slowly furl the main. That would be dangerous and very,very wet. On my Pearson 323 I have slab reefing. I cant tell you how many times I have had to reef the main and got completely soaked. It got so bad that I used to strip down naked, reef the sail, come back in, dry off, and put on my dry cloths. When redesigning this reefing system I tried to model the way I reef around a boat called Jester. Now Jester was a very different boat with a junk rig but the idea was that I could reef the sails with out leaving the safety of the cabin. I was lucky to be sponsored by Eastport Spars and rigging. John Callawaert has been rigging boats longer then I’ve been alive. John Callawaert is “the godfather” of rigging. So he helped me set up a single line reefing system that would allow me to reef my sails while standing in my companionway hatch, while my feet(and most of my body) are still inside the boat. I can reef my main in 60 seconds which is a huge comfort/safety benefit. Eastport spars and rigging also replaced my standing rigging. My running rigging came from West Marine Rigging. Julian was the driving force behind my sponsorship. He replaced my old running rigging with a new live West Marine Rigging has been carrying Called VPC. The interesting thing is the VPC line has held up better then the running rigging on my 323 Pearson, which is three times as expensive. Not often do you find a product which is both cheaper and better. The Annapolis boat show should be any day now. If you go, Don Backe will be there with some C.R.A.B boats, representing. Tell him I said hi. Around the corner lies the California current then its south, south, south. Warmer weather and good fishing awaits.