Sunday, August 17, 2008

8/17/08 Port Tack

We have been on a very long starboard tack. That means the wind is coming from the right (starboard) side of the boat. The boat leans (heels) to port as the driver tries to maintain course without rounding up into the wind - something the boat naturally wants to do. Consequently, your right arm carries the majority of the load at the wheel. Drivers typically balance themselves by placing their left foot on the bench to counteract the heel of the boat. We have been doing this for 1500 nautical miles.

Enter port tack at 20:00 on the 16th. Matt drove for the first hour while I cleaned up the lines and watched the moon rise. When it came my turn to drive, I instinctively/reflexively/whatever placed my left foot on the port-side bench. On port tack, the wind comes from the left side and the boat heels to starboard. Leaning in the same direction as the boat is heeling is not a very stable position. You smile at yourself and reposition. Then other things crop up.

My favorite administrator was Ethel Murphy. About 15 years ago, she came into my classroom (I was teaching 6th grade then) to conduct a scattergram of my attention to students. She drew up a matrix representing my classroom then placed a dot in a cell corresponding to the students I called on, answered a question for, or otherwise engaged (Mitch! Put away those Pokemon cards!) Her scattergram indicated I heavily favored or paid attention to the right side of my classroom. On starboard tack, the swell comes from the right which I always seem to have half an eye on ready to dip Compromise and ride the crest of the wave into the trough. Dip left with the swell then right into the swell riding the crest then dropping into the trough while maintaining course. Lather, rinse, repeat. Waves usually come in sets of three

The swell moves in the same direction as the wind. On port tack, that means the swell comes from the left and caught me unaware, the side Ethel Murphy's scattergram demonstrated was a blind spot for me. Ok, I know they're there so I dip left then right – nope. Swell's on the opposite side now so reverse the dance. Dip right (with the swell), then left (into the swell) then ride the crest to the trough.

We have been moving at 8-9 kts all day. Winds have been blowing 15-20 trading off with 20-25. Current position is lat N 37 49, long W 133 58. We have maintained a course of 070-080 throughout the day. Skies are cloudy with patches of blue. The picture attached to this posting is of Dave T at the helm and Matt after tightening the steering quadrant.

1 comment:

EVK4 said...

That scattergram idea is really cool. Is it a common teaching tool? I wonder if a classroom similar to the old Circle Star theater would work?

Back to sailing, I like how you tied it to port tack...after 1500 miles did everything down below come crashing out of their unsecured positions upon tacking? Happened to me in the Atlantic, took as long to clean up as we were on the other tack!