Robb Walker does some reflecting aboard the Cal 40 Nazomi on their way back from Hawaii..
400800 HST position 33 12n by 154 46w
currently motorsailing in 6 kts breeze, course approx. 060m
true wind speed 6kts, direction 120M
We’re slowly headed on port tack throughout the night (as anticipated) and tacked to starboard this morning at 0730 HST. Plan on sailing this course for approx. 12-24 hours until encounter lighter air, then tack back to south.
Still about 3 days to go to escape influence of high pressure and begin to see NW winds that will bring us home (about 10 days AFTER we get out into northwesterlies).
Fuel consumption while motorsailing has been very low, so encouraged about that as it gives us more options.
One really interesting thing about being out here for a while is that it starts to impact your sense of time and scale in a very significant way. The scale and distances are so large that it is almost incomprehensible at first. When we look at the (electronic) chart and lay out an intermediate route or series of tack the assumption is that the scale is a matter of a few hours or tens of miles, however when you look closely the scale is actually days and hundreds of miles! We are currently "short-tacking" our way upwind in order to move east, however the time on each tack is often 24-36 hours (or more)!
Time also slows down (or is it speeds up?). The first 24 hours out of Hawaii seemed interminable. Each time you look at the chart we have only made a few miles, the hours and watches move slowly, and one is constantly thinking that it is going to take forever to get home.
However after a few days or a week the hours and days begin to pass very quickly and it seems like nothing to plan on tacking in a wind shift in 24 hours or reaching a waypoint in 3-4 days. It is nice to make steady progress towards our destination, however speed becomes to be of little concern. We have now been underway about a week and the weeks begin to seem insignificant as well. We may have another 4 days to clear the high and two weeks to home, but it really doesn’t seem like a long time.
The days pass quickly and time passes in the routine of watch-keeping, sleep, navigation, routine maintenance and repair (hopefully minor) of the boat, communications (emails, daily radio roll call with the other boats sailing home, as well as a daily phone call and weather discussion with a friend in Hawaii), personal hygiene, meal preparation, and occasional recreational reading.
Strangely, I find that I do very little thinking and that my mind seems empty except for thoughts of immediate concerns with the boat. I think about weather, fuel consumption, sailing angles, routing, condition of the boat, etc., but very little else. I read on occasion, but am moving very slowly and have not yet completed a single book).
Watches go by quickly while doing nothing but watching the boat sail, keeping alert for traffic (we have passed a boat or ship about every other day or so) and looking at the sea and sky (beautiful clouds by day, unbelievable stars at night).