PACIFIC CROSSING UPDATE: DAY 22
Hey guys! Currently writing this from 00 05N, so about 5 miles north of the equator. We're so excited! The wind is consistent, the swell is big (but not too bumpy) and we are ready to summon King Neptune himself (AKA, Chase in a toga with a spear). Chase has been busy baking some goodies in the galley all morning, and I've enjoyed sitting on deck watching the waves go by (and responding to emails!). I don't want to ruin all the surprises in store, so I'll probably wait until tomorrow to give the full update as I'm not sure how our equator ceremony will play out.
We're all busy during the day reading guidebooks on French Polynesia and just generally getting stoked. I've started making the dreaded "list of crap to get done" for when we make landfall. Fortunately, it doesn't seem to be too awful yet, and 3 pairs of hands make fast work on boat projects. Last night on watch, Stuart and I both watched "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire". It far exceeded "The Mummy" in all regards, if by all regards, you mean that the play time was almost exactly 3 hours - perfect for a single night watch. Our new movie selection criteria will be based on run time alone (provided it is adequately brainless).
The temperature is totally bearable - I'd say 80s and not too humid. Up top, the breeze keeps things nice and cool, and down below, with the center hatch open, everything is ventilated quite nicely. We're doing it! This is it! Ahhh!
Also, this is totally irrelevant, and probably not blog-worthy, but with so much time out on the water in a tiny little (admittedly, cheap) boat, I've spent a ton of time thinking about the "dream cruising vessel", if there is such a thing. A lot of people have asked me if I could sail any boat, what would it be, and I guess this helps answer that question. And writing helps kill time until the equator, so here it goes. Can anyone let me know if there is something close to what I am describing? I'm thinking maybe a Boreal or a Garcia with some interior mods? I think it'd be a 46ish foot aft-cockpit aluminum solent-rigged sloop (similar topsides to the Outbound 46), with a removable inner forestay. I really like the idea of aluminum as a hull material, though maybe some of you can talk me out of it. Beneath the waterline would reveal a lifting centerboard (like the Boreals), and a standard spade rudder. While the Outbound has the hard dodger, I think it'd be sweet to convert that into a little protected doghouse (like what's on those French Omni's - is that what those are called?). No need for any canvas - this wouldn't be a pretty boat, but functional as F and graceful in that functionality. Moving into the cabin, I love the layout of the Catalina 42. The forward "v" would be occupied by the master head, well-ventilated with deck hatches, and no need for the anchor locker (which would be amidships in front of the mast to move weight center). The forward head would also allow you to install a watertight "crash" bulkhead separate from the rest of the main cabin/owner suite. Aft of the bulkhead would be the owner suite, with pullman berth port and hanging lockers starboard. The main salon would have to be centered around a large table that works to accomodate the lifting centerboard, and I'd imagine most of the nav station would be in the doghouse instead of the salon. In the salon, we'd go for super functional/space-maximizing layout, with the settees converting to sea-berths and a head with hanging locker for foulies, eliminating the need for a 2nd guest cabin typically found starboard. The space aft where the guest cabin would normally be could then be converted into a workshop with direct access to the engine, genset, watermaker, electronics, etc. The same space on the port side could be converted to a long u-shaped galley, which would further open up the salon. The larger galley would be better suited to provisioning as well. I'd probably go even more spartan with a lot of the interior than what's on Sea Casa currently. I would remove the water heater, electric water pumps (opting for foot pumps instead), and electric tank monitors. Tankage could be measured in the same way the Amels do it (with visual indicators) instead of failure prone sensors. I don't even know if I'd put in a refrigerator next time around, or just have an insulated area in the bilge. I will only admit that a propane stove is superior to our alcohol stove because of the availabilty of propane has been so much better than denatured alcohol (so far). And she'd have to have a little propane or diesel heater too, in the salon, for the cozy factor. I call it the "Connor". Now I just need to win the lottery or save up for the next, uh, 80-ish years. What do we think? Best boat ever (next to the Sea Casa)?
22 days in, baby, that’s a full three weeks! And with only a few short hours to go until we cross the equator, the excitement is palpable. We’ve begun prep for our ceremony/celebration when we hit zero degrees; the cake is baked and frosted, King Neptune’s speech is written and rehearsed, and the champagne is on ice and ready to pour straight out into the ocean as an offering. According to the equator-crossing lore we were sent (thanks Randy!), the crew member with the longest beard gets to play the role of King Neptune, which means that the tangled mess on the bottom of my face is finally getting put to use. Connor rigged up a crown using tin foil, paracord, and a plastic colander, and Stuart has lent his Hawaiian sling to stand in for a trident. Now all that’s left is to cross that big imaginary line! I’m sure we’ll have a more exciting recap of the whole event tomorrow, but for now I’ll leave you with the brief Neptune’s speech I wrote, pasted below. Adios from the northern hemisphere for the last time!
Well greetings, my sailors, I rise from the deep,
With stories to share, and secrets to keep.
I’ve smelled your boat coming, the stench that you bring,
‘Who are you?’ you ask; I’m Neptune the King!
For three weeks you’ve sailed, through sun and through rain,
I feel for your sunburn, your sweat, and your pain.
You’ve eaten from cans, with beans, corn, and 'taters,
But now it’s the time, to cross the Equator!
You left from La Cruz, bright young salty sea dogs,
You were still in the north, just three pollywogs.
But now you are here, at the big zero latitude,
You’ve shown you have guts, and appropriate attitude.
You’ve sped through the days, with Tang and The Mummy,
You’ve had your ass kicked, by Connor at rummy.
So take pride my men, this is no easy feat,
To sail so far south, on just thirty-one feet.
I wish you success, there’s no chance of failin’,
But I have to insist that you turn off that Waylon.
So keep yourselves full, on quinoa and pasta,
And put all your faith, in the mighty Sea Casa.
Her berths may be cramped, and her stove may get crusty,
But Connor always makes sure that her stainless ain’t rusty.
So now I must go, the depths call me back,
But first: I pronounce each of you a shellback!