Friday, December 4, 2015

Evanston: an invitation

December 4, 1975

ONE of the regular events of recent days is the 9:00 P.M. gale. Last night I decided by 9:30 p.m. that it was not going to put in an appearance and went to bed, but it was just outwaiting me. At about 10:45—I estimate the time because I lay in my bunk for half an hour hoping it would go away—I was awakened by a series of waves breaking over us, and finally I got up and found Egregious dashing south at 9 knots. In near-total darkness, I reefed and then went back to bed; but by the time I got there, I was so cold that it took another hour to get to sleep.

In other oceans, you can trim for the average conditions and live through the gusts. In these high southern latitudes— 49°44’South 
9l°30’West at noon—you have to trim for the gusts and be content to let the boat sail less than optimally in the average. The gusts are too strong, too dangerous, and too frequent.

        Some of you will recognize this entry and the one on November 30 from STORM PASSAGE.  They were originally written in pencil on a steno notepad.  In those long ago pre-computer days, there was a typewriter on board, a small portable Olivetti Lettera 32, but I did not use it at sea.
        I didn’t rewrite much between log and book, only evened out a few rough places and laboriously corrected spelling.
        I don’t usually live in the past, but forty years ago I was near one of the ultimate moments of my life, and so for the next week I will be in a condo in Evanston, Illinois, and I will be on EGREGIOUS in the Southern Ocean approaching Cape Horn.
        You are invited to sail with me.


      The photo, cloudfeather, was taken from THE HAWKE OF TUONELA on her Opua mooring in 2010.