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 17 of 109

At dawn we found our first flying fish on deck. It smelled positively fishy, and I committed it back to the briny deep. The weather had calmed even further, so to maintain our speed we shook out the mainsail and poled out the jib, wing-and-wing opposite the mainsail.

Our First Big Storm

However, the meteorological respite proved short-lived, as an ever blackening afternoon strengthened the wind and backed it toward the west. We sped along under deep reefed mainsail alone, hanging on as evening faded into impenetrable darkness. Ultimately the wind intensified into a tempest, entangling Suka into the maws of her first full-fledged gale.


Large swells signal the onset of heavy weather.

Belowdecks, I clawed the reefable staysail from its bag. Fumbling in the confines of the rebounding cabin, I tried to roll the sail's foot, and to tie its reef points - but with little success. This job had been so simple back in the office, but by my present mindset I needed to deal with reefing working canvas in order to fashion storm sails about as much as General Custer needed more Indians.

Climbing outside into utter blackness, spotlight in hand, I found that for some reason the ketch was no longer making way. The blast had pinned her steering vane hard over, but in headstrong disregard Suka lay beam to the gale and implacable seas. The pressure in her double reefed mainsail was heeling her far over, but oddly it was not driving her forward. Overpowered, Suka had taken the appropriate measures, and had hove-to of her own volition. Storm-pressed into the utmost service for which she was designed, the brig's heavy displacement, wine-glass shaped hull, and full length keel were now proving their worth.

Stormbound, a modern, so called "go-fast" yacht with its fin keel, flat bottom and light displacement requires her crew to sit at the helm round the clock, steering downwind or off the quarter. Lacking extra crew, Jenny and I were glad to allow Suka's traditional design to cope with the bellicose seas.

“Overpowered, Suka had taken the appropriate measures of her own volition, and had hove-to.”

Short-wave radio reception was marginal, but after several hourly attempts we gleaned the synoptic situation. Disseminated were warnings of fierce gales beleaguering the North Pacific, but none for our area. No bad news was not bad news, I reasoned. But this blow was genuine, and obviously it had not yet come to the attention of the meteorologists.

As the storm intensified, the night became frightening. Jenny occupied the lee bunk and I lay on the staysail in its heap on the cabin sole, listening to the dreadful wail of wind shrieking in the rigging. The ship's motion was indescribable in its violence. As the brig climbed each passing wave, it rocketed skyward; then as the wave passed she plummeted haphazardly into the next trough. We felt as though riding a wildly gyrating elevator suspended on a long spring, bouncing up and down two or three stories - this while some psychopathic Cyclops stood outside bludgeoning the elevator. Seas continually washed over the topsides, some with great force, as tempestuous seas thrashed the yacht unmercifully.

The story has 109 pages. This is page 17.
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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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