|Captain's Log - July 13, 2001|
... wing and wing
Position: 56-29-30N 34-28-13.8W
We notice today how critical our positioning is; every move we make within our 33' X 10' space has consequence. Presently, Hannah Brown is sailing in light, 7-10 kts of wind, at her stern. She is balanced with the sails in what is called "wing and wing" formation. We are using the Main, Genoa, and Stay sails. Both the Genoa and Stay sails are "polled" meaning that we are using a pole attached to the mast to hold them out in the light wind. The Genoa is polled to port (left), and the Stay sail is polled to starboard (right); hence the term "wing and wing". We notice that with Hannah Brown in this angelic looking formation, she is particularly sensitive to our every movement, which affects her perfect balance. Today, we are moving slowly and carefully.
In this position the boat rocks a bit from side to side, where as with all sails on the same side, the boat is merely "heeled" to one side. Heeled is a bit more comfortable because everything eventually shifts to a more or less stationery, albeit not always erect position. Sitting straight in your chair is really like posing as the 'Leaning Tower of Pisa'. When heeled, one learns to take breaks by standing in different directions, to brace oneself facing the bow for a while, then turn to face the stern. One learns to pour liquid by just holding the container off to one side, it all quickly becomes second nature.
When the boat is "rocking", as it does in no wind, light wind, or wind from the stern, (which seems to be most of this passage), compensatory movements are not as easy to get used to. I find it especially difficult to get the feel for how to pour liquid. Certain food preparations like chopping carrots and keeping the little rollers all contained on the sea sawing cutting board is a little tricky. Food also needs to be served in a way that it doesn't bounce right off the plate. Soup is definitely best in a cup rather than a bowl!
Though not the most comfortable sailing mode, this rocking is probably really good exercise. Just standing in the middle of the boat one's body weight automatically shifts back and forth from foot to foot without any effort by the owner of the body. What I like least is the constant feeling of my stomach sloshing back and forth, especially when I am laying still in the cradle of the lea cloth trying to go to sleep. I have found that putting a little weight on my middle holds it still enough to get to dreamland. (A pillow and my arms seems to be about right.) Last night I also noticed my neck muscles tensing up as my head spontaneously rock'n rolled with Hannah Brown. Proper fluffing and stuffing of the surrounding sleeping bag on both sides was the cure. Then, I got to listening to all the special sounds of our ever bobbing home, which is yet another story. I'll leave you with the slow gurgle right under my ear, of the water tank beneath the sea birth lulling me to sleep with it's accompanying rippling massage vibrating across my back through the bed cushion.