Day 8

Trade Wind Sailing

Jenna just said that this is what she dreamed it would be like.

We are currently sailing straight downwind at 7-8 knts on a course of 214 degrees under our cheerful Pt. Townsend Sails spinnaker with no main on a direct line to the Marquesas. The temperature is in the high 80’s, and we are all looking forward to our lunch of freshly-caught bluefin tuna. At this current course and speed we will be in Nuku Hiva in 10 days, although we will probably slow down a bit before then.

Our current position is 14.10 n 121.10 w, which means we made 153 miles in our last 14 hours. The lower daily total is mainly due to course changes and a reduction in wind speed. Last night while Jenna and I were on watch, the wind died down a bit and shifted back to the north, so we decided to gybe and make some westing. That didn’t work out to well, so we gybed back and headed at 6-7 knots on a 170 course under full main and jib until dawn.

Dan, Rich and I proceeded to put the chute up at that point, but it turns out the snuffer line was twisted up inside the bag and it took us over an hour to sort it out. Part of this involved Dan and Rich taking the chute into the “living room” and untangling it, and Rich reminded me that untangling spinnakers in living rooms is apparently an old Utzschneider tradition.

Did I mention lately that these guys are splendid crew?

Anyway, after we got the chute up and the main down, Rich looked aft at our meat lines (two 50 ft. lengths of 125 lb test line attached to the boat with shock cords and designed to haul in fish 24×7)and asked “Is that a fish?”. It turns out we had been dragging a 4 lb bluefin tuna for the last several hours, and this fish will soon be our lunch. In fact there were tuna and flying fish jumping all around us, so I put the trolling pole back in the water and within 2 minutes we had a hit. All of this is taking place while the boat is sailing 8 knots downwind under a chute with a crew that was a little tired from sail wrestling after their night watches, so we decided to maintain boat speed while trying to land the fish. We lost that fish but not the leader, and now that we have a more rested crew we have decided to drop the spinnaker the next time we get a hit on the pole in order to give us a better chance to stop the boat, land the fish and fill our freezer. We also have designated Leo the boat CMO (Chief Meatline Officer) and his job is to check the lines every 15 minutes.

Right now Dan and Rich are napping; Jenna, Leo, Hazel, and I are up top under the bimini wearing full SPF clothes and sunhats as Jenna reads aloud a chapter from Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States (Children’s Edition)” as part of our home schooling curriculum. Sophie is pretty much steering herself, and is as happy to be in the warm weather as we are. Our fuel and water tanks are full, the genset/solar/windmills/washing machine/autopilot are all working quite well, and the crew is happy. The grownups are all showered, and we will do the kids on deck after lunch. The big decision after that will be where to take the afternoon nap.

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