2011 07 01
"Good. Now Ease the Sheet. That's right. Perfect."
With no fanfare but a rustle of fabric we have just snuffed our gennaker for the third time in 24 hours. Stuck in light air for days now sail changes, frequent varied desperately anxious sail changes are the new norm.
Without doubt light air is the best sailing instructor in the world. We have been forced to share its company now for seven days and we have just about had our fill. Not that the forecast agrees. Nothing but light south westerlies, westerlies and northerlies for the next five to seven days.
That Coleridge fellow had it right. Out here there the universe consists of two things: water and air. You can't drink the water and you can't sail the air. Our air, at least, does not move.
Today we saw another sailboat. It refused our hail and sped eastbound out of sight as we laboured northward seeking more favourable isobars. If we are correct the silent runners will run out of air pretty soon. While a nice Rhum Line is really cool to sail this one takes them right into the maw of a cancerous little high pressure cell with no wind and no prospect of wind. We try to sail up and around it.
In all the universe we are alone. No ship nor contrail or evidence of human life has intruded on our existence for eight days now. Our friend Gerry, a retired Air Canada pilot, told us before we left that every night there are forty thousand (40,000) people in the air over the North Atlantic.
They are awfully well hidden.
So far that has been kind of cool.