Why Sailors Drink & Swear…..

Dear F&F,
June 12, 2009

After my eloquent but self-righteous piece \”Quitting is Not An Option\” Mother Nature decided to test and humble me. Getting off easy during the past few night shifts by motoring, the day shifts have been more trying than ever. Just when I think \”I\’ve got it\” something changes and new rules come into play. Rules that I am not aware of, only frustrated by. Due to my ignorance the chute hangs limply in the sky and the boat stalls in the trench of every swell. It is a 1 1/2 ounce chute, I believe that is per square yard. It is 800 square feet, a huge triangle with rounded edges. Too heavy to fly well in light air, but we have no alternative. We went for sturdy, durable. Not thinking heavy & slow as in these conditions.

I am beat. I am discouraged. I review my options: shorten my shifts if the guys will agree. Four hours is just too long for me, still in drivers training. I can\’t believe they actually go to sleep while I am at the helm. Don\’t they know you\’re not supposed to let the kids drive the school bus?! I keep listening, watching & learning from my capable coaches. I pray for more wind, yet don\’t wish to tempt Neptune into blowing our doors off. A light air, slow passage is far preferred to strong wind. Things break more when it blows too hard. Already the top section of our mainsail track has fallen off. We can\’t hoist it all the way up, which is a factor in our slow speed. When Scott emailed the mast company they offered to give us a new aluminum replacement under warranty. Our breaking one is plastic. Isn\’t that sweet, we have to pay for the shipping of course. But jeez, can\’t they just build it right the first time?!

The term \”fair weather sailor\” was coined with good reason. It is what every sailor longs for: just the right amount of wind from the proper direction to speed them along on the desired path.

I am a Gross Motor Girl (physical therapy lingo – means large movements). I am not patient at the tedious auto pilot adjustments. The steady hand of the dentist and skilled marine electrician are experts at squeezing speed out of mere puffs of wind. I jag left when I should go right, always behind the curve. Rarely able to stay in a smooth groove. (ASIDE FROM SCOTT�.She\’s being way too hard on herself, she\’s doing great!!!!)

I am not terribly seasick or uncomfortable, yet I am despondent. The scales tilted greatly today from Adventure to Ordeal. My slowest marathon was finished in just over 5 hours. I climbed & descended Mount Whitney in 24 hours. The bike rides to San Diego were completed in 2 days. This is our 13th day at sea, with at least another 4 ahead of us. It would be dramatic of me to call the trip grueling. But today I am void of joy. The feeling \”weary\” keeps cropping up. I am weary of the constant motion. I am weary of the incessant noises under sail and the pervasive stench under power. I am certainly weary of playing the video game and my attitude towards taking up the baton & putting in my time is quite grim. I want to snap myself out of this funk, but no longer have the energy. (ASIDE FROM SCOTT: This is the LONGEST sail (uniterupted) that we are likely to EVER do and NOT by a little).

I indulged in a rare pity party after reading 2 of Linda\’s treasured \”Just Because\” cards. My beloved friend lovingly prepared these along with comic clippings, entertaining newspaper articles and other tidbits to bring her love & laughter to my endless world of water. How appropriate that one card has a dragon sticker on the envelope. She wrote: \”Thar be dragons here.\” Don\’t you know it girlfriend! The demons in my head make my heart ache. I held a butterfly bookmark to my cheek and wept. Tears brimming up & spilling over. No sound. No sobs. So saturated in this salty world that it came oozing out my eyes, streaming down my face. Scott would hold me if I asked. But I do not wish to burden him. He is really enjoying himself, Mike and the radio chit chat. There is nothing he can do for me. My mood is within my own hands.

Usually my tolerance of the blues is pretty low. I find a way to buoy my spirits somehow. Today I don\’t yet see the way out. I am down here alone, hiding my pain. It is bad enough that I feel this way, I certainly have no desire to share my dark hour.

My next shift is only 2 hours – now there is a happy thought. And I defrosted pre-made chicken mole so the boys can be independent for dinner. I\’m not exactly inspired to \”fry it up in a pan\” if you know what I mean.

I had beets for lunch and macadamia nuts for breakfast. Some yogurt & bread too, so I\’m not going to wither away, but my appetite is down. I am very sorry to not sustain the inspirational tone. I am human. I am female. There is a reason they say \”Man the helm\”. No woman in her right mind could bear to play this incessant steering game for hours on end!

I came for the diving. Gotta hang on until we get there. They say life is a journey, enjoy the ride. I wish I could. Whoever it was that said that was not seasick and sleep deprived. I have had my moments of feeling ok. Had a few smiles creep across my face, but then again, too few to mention. I cannot stop this bus & get off. Quitting is not an option, too bad.

Please immediately read June 13 to know I got over the blues and am fine. Just thought you\’d enjoy my articulate angst.
Cindy at Sea, Day 13