BD Atlantic Crossing / A Tussle from the Deep – Day 6

At present, I’m only a few hundred miles off the coast of Africa and the Western Sahara Desert. The time is just past 01:00 UTC and the skies are clear, full of stars and the temperature is mild … an enchanting night on the water.

Today made for a beautiful day of sailing. I finally met up with the trade winds this morning, and have been continuing to work my way south to get into the best part of them. With the A3 (that would be the “asymmetrical spinnaker”) up and full, the boat has been lively with a lot of lift. It’s great to finally have enough wind to “fly the chute” and overpower the waves. I could use everyone’s energies though to help petition the gods of the wind to keep pushing us forward and across the Atlantic. Right now, the forecasts are for them to peter out about halfway, which would mean a lot more time to make it to the States!

Though part of me feels reluctant to recount it, here’s something of a funny story from last night.

As the sailing was pretty steady, I tried to get in some extra napping. Fatigue is something you must stay in front of, as you never know when a problem might arise that needs all your energy. So, following a regular routine, that I explained in my Day 2 “kitchen timer” post, I scan the horizon for shipping traffic, set myself up with the timer in 15-minute intervals and lay down. When the timer goes off, I repeat the process.

One thing about BoDream’s sleek racing design, is that there aren’t many creature comforts onboard. One that I’ve discovered is a nice spot to lie down on the floor (bilge) – right up against the engine box – especially nice after the batteries have been charged and the box is warm. It takes a few minutes, but much like heated seats in newer cars, the warmth radiates through the outer layers of clothing, and into my back where it even helps ease up some of my tightened muscles. I know this is not exactly what people look for in a heated back massage – but I’m grateful for it.

Anyway … part of the routine is to take off some of the excess equipment, in particular the auto-inflating life jacket. They call these things “Personal Flotation Devices” or PFD’s now, as I suppose that’s less scary sounding than life jacket. Whatever you call them, they don’t save your life, they just help keep you floating. Anyway, so I take that off, and set it on top of the engine box and then lay myself down to nap.

A PFDThese PFD’s have an ingenious automatic inflation system that kicks in if you go under water, but they also have thigh straps which dangle around and get in the way all the time, as well as a built-in harness that I clip to a tether which is then attached to something solid on deck to prevent me from falling too far away from the center of the boat. Though these new PFD’s aren’t as bulky as the old hazmat orange ones, they are also a lot like an octopus with all the various appendages, straps and such attached.)

So, I’m sleeping deeply in my idyllic 15-minute window. Now anybody that knows me well, can attest that attempting to wake Dave Rearick up from sleep, is akin to taking your life in your hands. Tim Kent remembers I’m sure. I come out of sleep with only one intention … to “neutralize” the situation and rid myself of all threats and adversaries.

Octopus Dream

So, as I’m sleeping, the boat rises up and rolls a bit and this science-fiction octopus slides off the engine cover, and lands with a smack on my face and chest. Instantly, I jump up and fling this “thing” across the cabin, intent upon neutralizing it. With great courage and ferocity, I almost have it neatly skinned and filleted before I’m awake enough to even realize what is happening. Fortunately, the cabin is somewhat enclosed or I’d have sent the monster back to the evil deep from where I was certain it had come. It took me a while, but I finally climbed back into my own skin and finished out the night – though I can’t say much more rest was had.

I’m grateful that Matt Scharl or one of the other BoDream crew members wasn’t onboard. I can shelter myself from the embarrassment of various details, that I know they would be hard-pressed not to divulge.

Anyway, that’s what we do for fun out here. I’m looking forward to tomorrow.

Hope you’re all doing well.

- Dave (+26.3100 – 19.4900)

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