The whole day on June 5th we sailed with Elvis, the king of dead run sailing , twisting around. The autopilot was doing fairly well in view of the conditions – the wind in the lower limit of Force 5 Beaufort, gradually weakening to Force 4. The spinnaker – spilling over, never sticking to its ideal semi-elliptical shape – as if had understood that it had to restore itself its own form in accordance with the fixed compass course, supported by the autopilot in an acceptable range.
Diyan loves to steer manually the spinnaker. Not me! But obviously, I have to force myself to do it, so that I can get the skill of it. If the autopilot (not really smart) can do it, I, too, have to work it out. The good helmsman is better at steering than the autopilot, the latter beating him only in the endurance race, but not in terms of precision, of timely and adequate response to the changing environment.
We already started thinking and talking about our forthcoming plans and commitments on land, as well as future voyages to be undertaken by each of us individually. For Diyan sailing has become a way of life and a way of earning a living. His sportsman background adds a great deal of competitive spirit in his sailing – I mean that he has always been a perfectionist, demanding the utmost boat speed. He is not fond of the epicurean type of sailing. For example: we are sailing in upper Force 4 wind on a dead run with main and poled out jib (butterfly). Furia – with a gentle rolling – is doing 6 knots speed and eating in small bites the remaining miles. For me that’s enough – “settle down, just relax , take it easy” (Cat Stevens) and enjoy. Diyan, however, is not satisfied. Furia must swallow the remaining miles in large morsels. He prefers to raise the spinnaker and put an end to casual sailing. I don’t want even to mention the argument over fixing and raising of the spinnaker with somebody at the bow and then its dropping and putting in place (God forbid in case we’re late in our decision to lower it, dictated almost always by the acceleration of the wind). Or all its grooming and taming while being up …
It turned out that the advertised Bulgaria Air direct flights from Sofia to Lisbon and back are only once a week – on Thursday. We’ll have to come back with Alitalia via Milan. Shortly before sunset we lowered the spinnaker and went back to butterfly – the tireless and unassuming mule of downwind sailing, which in sufficient wind always managed to bear away a few degrees below than the king spinnaker, but who would admit it.
During the night the wind weakened and our speed fell in the range 4,5-5.5 knots – Diyan got real worried. So he went to bed, full of worries as I took over from him the watch at the first hour of June 6th . Unlike me … Pure joy! I will have a great night watch without the spay hood lowered, listening to music playing quietly (yet audible enough), watching the stars while lying on my back on the cockpit bench, and writing this posting. The slow voyage has its advantages too. I decided to stay on watch until it got light. Let Diyan have a good sleep, and after he gets up and has had breakfast I will help him raise the spinnaker, and then I will let him chase the optimal speed to catch up for the lost miles during the butterfly sailing.
In my opinion there are two categories of solo sailors The first are sailors, racing single-handed transatlantic and round the world, who participate in the Vendee Globe, Transat Bakerly, Figaro, Mini Transat and so on – races fully colonized by the French-sailors. In these races one sails at the maximum in order to win. During the duration of the voyage, this type of sailors are under constant pressure and they have to exceptionally mobilize all strength, knowledge, skills, and incoming information. In this category, movement is driven by the final goal. It is very important to follow the other competitors so that you can envy them or gloat because of the wind.
The other type of solo sailors are those who chase no other goal but sailing alone in the sea / ocean, by simply inventing a passage – usually different from the traditional sea / ocean routes. Destination for them is not very important – it can be changed at the whim of the sailor during the voyage. For this type of sailor movement is everything, the goal – nothing. He does not want to have other yachts and sailors around him with which to compete. This navigator is a surly fellow. He is impatient to light out, glad to get away from society, where his work and well-being belong, to be alone in the ocean – the most lonely and uncivilized nature. Apart from rediscovering the pleasure of being alone, this surly type of sailor needs to fit in actively in nature’s innate chaos without becoming its victim. And if he is not sufficiently powerful to order and subject chaos to his will, it is sufficient to be the Man who does not bend, who deals with chaos because he understands it, who is not afraid, because he is a Man, not Tarzan among seals. Shine on You Crazy Diamond! It is getting light – in about an hour the Sun King will rise. A new day is about to begin in the ocean again. PS I am grateful to Neptune for giving me this wonderful long night watch. I’m thankful to Rolling Stones, too, for keeping me company again in the cold, sticky, humid and uncomfortable darkness.
From on board Furia
June 6th , 05:45 UTC
Position: 37degrees05min N 022degrees54min W