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In the Passage Mindset

Nov 7, 2010


Location: Underway to the Cape Verde Islands
Author: James Head
This morning we awoke to beautiful, clear skies and smooth sailing: exactly the kind of passage day that we here aboard Argo live for. Watch team 3 began our watch at 9:00am by raising the main staysail and the forward staysail, with Eric and I completing Boomers solo sail-raise challenge on those sails respectively. Since we will be on a running point of sail (with the wind behind us) for the next few days we had to put on the chafing gear to prevent the mainsail from being worn thin by rubbing against the stay. I volunteered to be hoisted up in the bosuns chair, about 30 feet above the deck, to put the chafing gear in place. My life was in the hands of my shipmates Eric and Albert, but I trusted them and they did not let me down – at least not until it was actually time for that. But oh how that time came too soon; I would have spent all day up there, swaying in the wind with a birds eye view of the boat and the ocean around us, swinging from rope to rope like a sailor of old (but not quite a pirate, as I did not have my cutlass with me at the time). It was exhilarating, challenging and one of the most memorable experiences of my trip so far, but unfortunately it was short lived, with no photographic evidence of the event. In lieu of class this afternoon Boomer screened the documentary, Deep Water, about the first solo-unassisted, non-stop sailing race around the world sponsored by the British Crown in 1968. I have no doubt Boomer showed us the film to prepare us for the upcoming Atlantic crossing for the next three weeks or so the majority of our time will be spent underway, and the film did an excellent job of conveying the physical and psychological challenges of long passages at sea. Three weeks seems like nothing compared to the 300 some-odd days those sailors spent on the waves, completely alone with not a single port of call. I for one am beginning to look forward to the crossing with more enthusiasm than before, knowing that I have only one ocean to cross instead of three and the company of my trusted crew to keep us safe from danger.