Saturday, December 5, 2015

Evanston: 4,000 miles in a Wayfarer

December 5, 1975

THE sea has never seemed so alive, a symphony of violence. The barometer dropped almost an inch, but is slowly making its way back up. Although the wind is at gale force, we have bright sunshine. Wave crests are being blown off; spindrift everywhere.

While I was on the foredeck this morning lowering the staysail, I happened to find myself staring directly into a twenty foot drop beneath the port bow as a wave passed under us. It is very much a sensation of looking over the falls. A long way down.

The three biggest waves I have ever seen just came through. Judgments of their size are difficult to make, but I have certainly never seen their equal. The average wave out there now is between 10 and 15 feet, and I would estimate these were over 30. The sight of those immense curling crests speeding toward us was immobilizing. I stood in the companionway—which was hardly a good idea in retrospect, but I didn’t think to close it at the time—having just lifted a bucket full of ice water from the bilge and was mesmerized. The crest of the last giant toppled over 10 yards to windward, and I thought we would surely be inundated; but Egregious turned her hip into it and rose gracefully through the foam.

Through years and waves and women and wanton storms that rage without, within, I am coming at you, Cape Horn. And at long last I am very near.


         Wayfarer dinghies have made some great voyages.  One I did not know about until Hugh sent me the link to a forty-four minute video was 4,000 miles in the eastern Mediterranean and up and down the Nile River in the early 1990s.  I thoroughly enjoyed this.  A great way to start my morning.  Thank you, Hugh.