Global Voyage

A Story About Sailing Around the World

Ray & Jenny aboard the ketch Suka

3 years, 35,000 miles, Nov 1982 - Jan 1986

Ray & Jenny Jardine

Chapter 1: Voyage to Fatu Hiva page 12 of 109

Dawn seemed to illuminate the sky with a piquancy that accentuated the fact that, full circle, the sky and the sea met. Land was conspicuously absent. Looking around the vast horizon and contemplating our plight, Jenny uttered in amazement, "There sure is a lot of water out here." This struck me as amusing, and we joke about it to this day. But it certainly epitomized my feelings of incredulity as well.

“There sure is a lot of water out here.”

The wind and seas had slackened, bringing a welcome respite from our white-knuckled clutching of the cockpit coaming. Now the ocean seemed far less hostile. But rather than make more sail, we enjoyed the respite so much that we kept sailing short canvassed, despite the greatly reduced pace.

When one considers the astronauts who hurl around the globe in a mere ninety minutes or so, it felt ironic for this former aerospace engineer to be aboard a sailboat that would require not hours - not days - nor even months to encircle the globe, but years. I could only reason that education does not quench wanderlust, and that for the civilian individual, space technology has a vital drawback: it's prohibitive expense. I agree with Edward Abbey's flippant opinion that the ultimate goal of technology is to reduce the intervening space between two distant points to zero. Yet Jenny and I wished to see and experience every mile of this intervening distance. And we were quite satisfied to be powering the quest in the traditional way, using the wind.

That afternoon a woodpecker flew headlong into the billowing mains'l (mainsail). After bouncing off apparently unscathed it attempted a landing on the mainmast aloft. But this proved no easy task, considering that the ketch was reeling and heaving its masts across the sky like a pair of overgrown baseball bats as though a pair of children were swatting at wasps. Nevertheless, the poor bird finally managed to alight on the uppermost mast step, and there it clung until well after dark. Woodpeckers are not seabirds, and we could only surmise that this one had been blown from land by the storm. One hundred and fifty miles off-shore, the little creature was indeed fortunate to have found at least some measure of respite. And granted, a woodpecker perched on a wooden mast might not seem the most favorable combination, but the bird seemed exhausted, and indeed after a time it flittered down to the deck and found a snug niche among the folds of the dowsed staysail lashed on the foredeck. And there our feathered companion spent the night.

From my journal:

“Day 3: We haven't perfected our nocturnal discipline quite yet. It happened to each of us during the night, that the watchkeeper awoke to find the other, supposedly sleeping belowdecks, sitting nearby on watch.

“Early in the morning the woodpecker flew away in the correct direction. How it had known in which direction to fly we can't imagine, but we certainly hope it reaches land. While bucking these headwinds, what an imposing distance of open sea it must cover.

“We are beginning to adapt to our new sea-going environment. The queasiness has subsided, mostly, and our appetites are returning. This morning Jenny braced herself in the vertigo-inducing galley and prepared an exemplary seagoing breakfast of corned beef hash, eggs, English muffins and coffee. Despite a twinge of lingering mal de mer, we are really enjoying the trip so far. Having literally left it all behind, we feel more than a little insecure. But the anxieties surface only when we think about them; otherwise life out here is grand.”

Throughout the day we busied ourselves with various projects. I rigged a pair of lines along the topsides, stem to stern. To these "jack lines" we slide-ably affixed our safety harnesses with a pair of carabiners each. Also, we fitted a main-boom preventer: a stout nylon rope made fast to the boom's after end. Led forward, this line rove through a block on the leeward bowsprit, then aft to a cockpit winch. Hardened in, the line levered the eighteen-foot wooden boom forward, restraining it from lurching dangerously from one side of the boat to the other - that is, from jibing, in the advent of an unexpected and sudden shift of wind.

photo

Far at sea, Ray takes advantage of the light airs and ties rags to the spreader tips so they don't tear the cruising chute.

During the afternoon we experimented with flying the big cruising sail, termed "the chute." First, I climbed aloft and wrapped each spreader tip with a rag, padding it to prevent tearing the wispy sail.

A month prior to our departure we had gone to a local beach to shoot the twilight stars with a plastic sextant. Returning to the office, I had reduced the data using a navigational calculator. My first results were down-right preposterous, but subsequent field trips yielded far better results. The math was not difficult because the calculator simplified the sequences to a cook-book procedure, and with a background in theoretical space-flight mechanics I was not unaccustomed to finding my way among the stars. So now while Jenny marked Greenwich mean time on a wristwatch, I obtained a round of twilight measurements to the stars Vega, Altair, and Polaris. Using these measurements I then computed what seemed an accurate position fix. "Seemed" because we no longer stood on a known beach, and therefore knew of no means to determine whether our methods and calculations were correct. The figures seemed in order, and they reassured us that we would be passing by Guadalupe Island in the night with more than enough offing. Nevertheless we resolved that the watchkeeper should keep his or her eyes open.

Suka flew her jib, her staysail, her mainsail shortened with a single reef, and her mizzen sail. With the wind holding steady over her starboard quarter she scampered ahead willfully into the night. By now we had far exceeded normal VHF radio range to the mainland, but by some fluke of airwaves we managed a clear contact with the San Diego marine operator. Remarkably, a few hundred miles from land we placed telephone calls to Jim and Deidrie, and to our parents.

The story has 109 pages. This is page 12.
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Page Links
GV 001: Title Page
GV 002: TOC
GV 003: Dedication
GV 004: Preface
GV 005: Prologue
GV 006: Beginnings
GV 007: Work Done
GV 008: Making Ready
GV 009: Departure
GV 010: Sailing Credentials
GV 011: First Lesson
> GV 012: Sextant Navigation
GV 013: Safety Harness
GV 014: Murphy's law
GV 015: Spirit of Adventure
GV 016: Holding On
GV 017: First Big Storm
GV 018: Storm Intensified
GV 019: Rolling Violently
GV 020: Mizzen Sleeping Bag'sl
GV 021: Freeing the Propeller
GV 022: Visits by Birds
GV 023: Crossing the Doldrums
GV 024: Nearing First Landfall
GV 025: Land Ho
GV 026: Fatu Hiva
GV 027: Trek Inland
GV 028: Anchor Watch
GV 029: Passage
GV 030: Hiva Oa
GV 031: Skin Diving Circus
GV 032: Almost Like a Jungle
GV 033: Polaris Missile
GV 034: Taiohaie Bay
GV 035: Cascade Hakaui
GV 036: Taipi Bay
GV 037: Cyclone Lisa
GV 038: Cyclone Nano
GV 039: Passage of Patience
GV 040: Tuamotu Archipelago
GV 041: Tahiti
GV 042: Cyclone Reva
GV 043: Secret Sharer
GV 044: Moorea
GV 045: Cyclone Veena
GV 046: Aftermath
GV 047: Good Weather in Papeete
GV 048: Huahine
GV 049: Raiatea
GV 050: BoraBora
GV 051: Rarotonga
GV 052: Tonga
GV 053: Fresh Air
GV 054: Tongan Feast
GV 055: Excursion to Maninita
GV 056: Mariner's Cave
GV 057: Fiji
GV 058: Ndravuni Island
GV 059: Mara Island
GV 060: Aneityum
GV 061: Noumea
GV 062: St Elmo's fire
GV 063: Breakwater Reef
GV 064: Bundaberg
GV 065: Life on the Burnett River
GV 066: Engine Sabotage
GV 067: Flying
GV 068: Aground in Round Hill Creek
GV 069: Gladstone Confinement
GV 070: Tropical Queensland
GV 071: Trip into Townsville
GV 072: Cairns Sojourn
GV 073: Cramped Cooktown
GV 074: Lizard Island
GV 075: The San Michelle
GV 076: Lost Mummy Cave
GV 077: Land's End
GV 078: Darwin
GV 079: Christmas Is
GV 080: Passage
GV 081: Cocos Keeling
GV 082: Crossing the Indian Ocean
GV 083: Rodriguez
GV 084: Mauritius
GV 085: Reunion Cirque de Mafate
GV 086: Reunion Cirque de Salazie
GV 087: Passage to Africa
GV 088: Kruger National Park
GV 089: Richards Bay
GV 090: Durban
GV 091: Port Elizabeth
GV 092: Cape Town
GV 093: Storm Passage
GV 094: St Helena
GV 095: Passage to Brazil
GV 096: Fortaleza
GV 097: Passage to Caribbean
GV 098: Bonaire
GV 099: Passage to Panama
GV 100: Panama
GV 101: Panama Canal
GV 102: Medidor
GV 103: Costa Rica
GV 104: Passage to Acapulco
GV 105: Acapulco to Cabo
GV 106: Baja
GV 107: Home Port
GV 108: In Retrospect
GV 109: Next Time
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