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Type Two Fun

Updated: May 6, 2023

Dave indicated there are different types of fun. My take-away distilled to the following :: type three, you " send it" then realize you survived just barely and should never try that again; type two, it was difficult in the doing then you realize it was "fun" after the fact, the memory grows fonder over time; type one, in the moment it's all shits and giggles, downhill both ways on a 'sugar' high.

We all agreed, the Pacific Crossing was type two fun

Kelli gently suggested "we can nest as we head west": I wasn't ready. In retrospect, I have no idea how a first-timer feels ready for such a big unknown. You're on land at water's edge and you're excited about launching into that alluring adventure. But, my oh my, you are clueless!.. about how quickly and sharply your edges will be revealed, how deeply you will have to dive into your inner reserve of calm and nerve, how long you will have to endure incessant repetitive motion VS sharp jags of changing circumstance. These are realities for multiple people on a small boat in the vast expanse of the biggest ocean. Maybe it all comes down to that last nerve. You really don't know how long yours is, how thin, how fragile. Then there are others with their own last nerve. Sounds a tad harrowing?...

We came through in SPADES!! we did it and we are still great friends :: that is the true crowning achievement

Consider some of the specifics:

* the seas never got organized so the rocking motion was often figure-eight

* the wind was a bit fickle so perhaps we had to chase it or perhaps it nearly took us in a circle

* how do we know thee? we all got to know Calla Lily's best and worst

* BTW the laughter of a friend cures all ails

* tasty meals were shared and we had fresh veg/produce when we arrived (kudos to provisioning!)

* every watch was tended with only a couple of time-change upsets

* we celebrated momentous markers including a swim at the equator

* BTW the joy shared by friends makes the best even better

* felt like gladiators going up against the spinnaker in gaining wind ... that thing is a beast

* like loonies for sleep deprivation (are we hearing voices?)

* beauty V utility? three sails up, wing on wing looks glorious but the boat motion sucks

* once you've gone through that big black squall, the next one is not so scary

* BTW the laughter of a friend cures all ails

* everyone agreed that boobies are God's gift to nature

* progress is measured in the time it takes to reef (from plus-five minutes to less-two)

* it's not just sunsets for spectacular colors ... ocean sunrises lift all spirits

* how rigging spells relief? changing tack after five days on same

* chart plotters are 'spoiler alerts': you know when to start scanning the horizon for land

* BTW the joy shared by friends makes the best even better

So, some items above are samples of Type Two 'difficult in the doing'. Mike can provide more details about what we encountered and overcame but our reality included joys of discovery and free-flying fun. After those first weeks around Nuku Hiva, my mind was turning over the experience(s) of crossing, and like a developing pearl, my memory of it was smoothing and becoming more deeply luminous.

How did Calla Lily and all her systems do on the passage from La Paz to Nuku Hiva? Pretty darn well.

Things that actually broke or failed were the bilge pump, Iridium GO!, and the swim ladder. Things that didn't work great or kind of broke were the (new) Iridium GO! Exec, the wind vane mounts which came loose twice, the hoop in the spinnaker sock which broke where a repair was bodged by a welder, the boom vang fitting bushings, the bitter end of the spinnaker halyard came loose and everything ended up over the side, and a we got a few small tears in the spinnaker. Things that worked great were Trevor Richards, our weather router, solving for comfort over purity and speed by motoring and reaching as needed, provisioning and meals, the watch schedule (3 4-hour watches 7AM to 7PM and 4 4-hour watches 7PM to 7AM), reefing the sails thereby sacrificing a tiny bit of speed for a whole lot of comfort.

Starting with the not so great, we "upgraded" to the new Iridium GO! Exec satellite communicator right before we left. I should have done more homework about its true capabilities, but it sounded good at 40 times the speed of the our Iridium GO!, ability to use Gmail, WhatsApp, and even some light we browsing. Not going into the details, suffice it to say that we reverted back to the Iridium GO! as soon as we got to Nuku Hiva. Lesson learned. When on passage, redundancy is key. We carry spares and spares and have back up systems for important systems. For instance, we have a wind vane (essentially a wind powered autopilot), a standard electronic/mechanical autopilot, and soon we will have a third option which is a simple autopilot that attaches to the wind vane rudder. Speaking of that, our wind vane has its own rudder, so we can steer if something happens to our rudder or hydraulic steering mechanism. Back to redundancy. For satellite communications, we actually had 4 options on the passage. 1. Iridium GO! Exec (which did do the basics albeit in a faffy bodgy way) 2. Iridium GO! 3. Garmin Inreach 4. Dave's Garmin Inreach. We had that all covered. Which was great because on the first day, the Iridium GO! crashed and could not be resurrected. That made us sad and for a while we could not post our position on our web page and PredictWind. Channing helped us sort that by acting as our internet middle person and relaying messages to an from Predictwind during the first week. Trevor was also key in that he changed up his process for us since we couldn't use email nor text messages as he usually does for weather routing.

Next up was the bilge pump. Bilge pumps are key because they pump water out of the boat. Ours stopped working a little ways into the passage and we couldn't find our spare (not good). We do carry a spare fresh water pump in case the fresh water pump or the refrigerator water pump fails. We were able to modify it by attaching some hoses and wiring it into the automatic bilge pump switch. Granted, the capacity was not as high as a proper bilge pump, but it would get the job done.

The swim ladder broke. Why were we on the swim ladder in the middle of the Pacific Ocean anyway? I was standing on it to remove the wind vane rudder the second time since we were within a week of landfall and decided not to mess with the mounts until we got to port. I was wearing a harness with a double tether so I was safe and luckily the part of the ladder that came off was tethered to the boat (as Dave pointed out to me when I was struggling to bring it back aboard by myself.) The scary part was we realized how small the attachment points that gave way were and remembered climbing up and down the ladder 15 feet off the ground in the boatyard. We'll be having those bits strengthened up when have the ladder repaired. In the meantime, the wind vane rudder makes a handy step.

Skipping the annoying but not so bad, these things went well. Trevor Richards the weather router. He's experienced, knowledgable, reliable, and gives good clear reports and advice. He's also from South Africa like Calla Lily. If you look at our path, you'll see a lot of zig zagging, especially in the first part of the journey. We did that on purpose to make the trip more comfortable, if also a bit longer. The swell in that part of the ocean are not lined up nicely with the wind and the wind was not very strong. Calla Lily needs a stronger breeze (more than 10 knots for sure) to enable her to develop enough drive in the sails to overcome the swell. That or a spinnaker. She loves her spinnaker and so do we. In 8-12 knots with the wind just before to behind the beam the spinnaker feels like a locomotive and she powers through the swell. We forgot why we have a rule against leaving the spinnaker up all night because we loved sailing with it so much, and in the morning the breeze came up to the high teens and we had a wee bit of difficulty bringing it down (hence the broken spinnaker sock hoop.) Later on one night, the wind was light and shifting around crazily and the there was as a ton of unorganized swell so we turned on the engine and motored for awhile until conditions improved.

Shelby and Kelli did a fantastic job provisioning and Kelli did most of the cooking and we ate very well all the way. We even finished with some fresh vegetables left over! We also made sourdough bread many times.

The watch schedule worked really well for us. We had 7 watches per day for the 4 of us which meant that once every 4 days, one of us only had one watch, every day 2 people got 9-hour uninterrupted sleep opportunities, and the night watches were only 3 hours. We will definitely use this schedule again.

The best part of the passage hands down was the crew. We got along well, I felt confident when I was not on watch, and they were a pleasure to sail with. It was an amazing experience and a grand experiment. By the numbers, it took 20 days, we had many 150+ nautical mile days (Calla Lily is pretty fast), we motored for 2 days across the doldrums, used 4 of our 5 sails in various combinations (we didn't need the storm sail), sailed through a handful of squalls, and best of all, we made it!

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