Friday, January 14, 2005

Cindy: Drifting along past Key West at 4am

Here we are drifting along past Key West at 4am. No sails set and no engines running. We are simply waiting for sunrise so we can turn around and head for the harbour where we will set anchor and then "play" for the day. Since it is now the 11th, yesterday we brought the anchor up by hand (a very long process) from the Dry Tortugas and then motored away. Some people got sick because we finally had some wind and seas. This boat is super creaky and every time she rocks all the boards creak against one another in the most disconcerting sound. It’s all good though because we are still floating and rumour has it that she always sounds like this. It was a big bummer to actually have some wind yesterday and not be able to use it. In order to get to Key West, we had to go nose to the wind and since square rigs can only sail 90 degrees to the wind, we were put between a rock and a hard place. It was probably a force 4 with more or less 5 foot seas. I loved it, but wish we could have had some canvas up. Actually that’s a lie, we did have some sail up for a while, along with the motor, but then a halyard on one of the headsails snapped which eventually caused the forstay to break as well. In the midst of all this, we struck all the other staysails and they have remained that way since. Also today, the port engine started smoking a lot, but no worries, there was no fire and we were up and running in no time.

I guess this will be the one where I talk about some of the differences between SEA and the Bounty. Since I don’t know the best way to go about this arduous task, sorry if it gets repetitive. The Bounty is a very wide and cheeky boat while the Seamans is slim around the middle and has a much faster hull speed (the maximum a boat can go based on a whole bunch of confusing mathematical calculations that not really anyone understands). The Bounty has been referred to as a bulldozer. The roll of the boat is so different from the Seamans that at times, I am finding it hard to adjust. The helm on the Bounty is very stiff and somewhat unresponsive at first, which makes steering a complicated and interesting and certainly time consuming process. The helm on the Seamans certainly wasn’t loose but it was by no means super stiff and hard to turn. I guess this way has it benefits because in rough seas when you typically slide down the backs of the waves, the rudder won’t cause the helm to whip one way or the other due to the pressure of the water as much. Especially in a square rig like this, when you can’t go into the wind and would therefore presumably be taking most rough seas from astern, a stiffer helm would be more advantageous. It just takes a long time to get a feel for it, that’s all.

Haha, on a side note, there is a poster on board that says "the beatings will continue until morale improves."

But I digress. Bow watch on this boat is a much more social event in that people actually come up and talk with you while you are up there. A course of action that was completely taboo on the Seamans. Because bow watch means, especially at night, that you are the eyes of the ship, you spent bow watch alone looking out 360 degrees to make sure there was nothing to run into or that the helmsman, mate, or captain should know about. But a social bow watch is way more interesting than sitting alone in the middle of the night watching a bunch of black water.

There is so much to compare. Each ship is unique and great in its own way and I feel like comparing them like this is coming off as ‘the Seamans is better’. This is not the message I want to send so here is where this blog ends. Trust me, if you ever want to hear the two ships and experiences compared, just ask me or Natalia (S-191) and we will gladly help you out.

Goodnight all.
posted by Cindy