A star to steer her by...

And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by...

So all was going well. I was starting to acclimatize and I cooked a lovely chicken curry with rice. I went downstairs and slept for an hour before my shift. My alarm went way too soon, and I dragged myself out from inside my warm cosy sleeping bag. I dragged on my foul weather pants and oh thank goodness, my warm cosy boots. I am so glad I brought them. I don't need them for the rain, although they were great for that in Luxembourg, but they keep my feet warm.

Things had changed upstairs. We had been having problems with the Raymarine instruments shutting off randomly. Not sure if its a short or electrical interference. We have been monitoring it. The big problem is that when it shuts off, it shuts off our auto helm and it resets, sometimes at a random setting, perhaps 180º from our desired course. This can be disquieting and of course you need to run and grab the wheel and switch to standby and steer back to your course and enable the auto helm again. Apparently, while I had been sleeping it had done it about 8-12 times in one hour and our skip had decided enough is enough. This could be a fire hazard since we don’t know what the problem is. So now we will have only a compass and, if the clouds clear, a star to steer by.

We have set course for Coruña on the coast of Spain and will try to get if fixed there. We will have to hand steer the course. With only three of us on board, this will be strenuous. It is another 12 hours or more to Coruña. Jon and I were doing the first watch. We would take 30 minute turns on helm, and the other person could rest. After two hours, Jon would go to be for two hours, and John and I would do the half hour shifts. After two hours I would go to bed and John and Jon would spell each other off. It worked out very well. 

It was a very long night, and there were many times I asked myself why I was there. As I pulled off the warm sleeping bag and pulled on the damp sailing gloves and pulled my hood tighter around my face, trying to defend against the bitter night wind, I thought of my bed, and a warm soft pillow and a loving arm to pull me closer. Why do we do it? Why do some of us choose adventure over safety and security? I could not resign myself to a life of chatting about soap operas and local gossip, so I seek out adventure. I think that at the end of it all, I just want to say that I didn’t waste my life. As Hunter S. Thompson said, “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!”

I only threw up a couple of more times near the morning. I got up for my 8am shift and Jon said he had put the auto helm back on, but not the other instruments. I stood watch alone until about 10:30 am when we got to our waypoint. I woke Jon, and I turned the boat down towards Coruña. Jon said he would take it in from there. At 11:30, I was called as we were nearing port and needed to get the lines and fenders set. I pulled the blanket further over my head and wondered what would happen if I just stayed in bed. Every piece of my body aches. But of course, I crawled out and made fast my lines and fenders and watched as the small ciudad of Coruña hove into view. 

We got in and filled our fuel tanks and Jon found out that they cannot fix the instruments here. We will have to sail another 2-3 days south without them. We will stay the night here though. 

We put our boat in her berth and walked to the grocery store to re-provision. The store delivers, so we didn't have to carry anything back with us. I washed my clothes in the warm water while I showered in their free, very hot, very relaxing showers, and hung them on the lifelines to dry. It is very warm here and they should be dry before bed, even though it is 4pm. The groceries came and we packed them away. We are supposed to find a nice place to eat tonight and I am looking forward to it. 

Trying to grab a little sleep between shifts

Sunrise off the coast of Spain

The Spanish Coast

Miles to go before I sleep...


John and Jon

The Central Square in Coruña

Lovely little streets with stairs

And of course beautiful old Iglasias

The Harbour

This is where I am:)