Sunday, August 10, 2008

Friday, August 7

Sandy devised a 4-hour watch schedule that has her and Matt trading off watch duties overlapping Lorraine and myself by two hours. This means I stand watch with Sandy for two hours then with Matt for two hours making the time pass quickly.

I felt somewhat uneasy about the onset of night as it meant I would be driving Compromise in the dark (for the first time). Compromise was crashing through the waves while I sat in the quarter berth preparing for my midnight to 4:00 watch. After gearing up and grabbing a snack, I went up the companionway to take over for Lorraine while Matt stayed on for another two hours. The jib was furled and the main reefed to ease my sail. So I clipped in behind Lorraine, grabbed the wheel, and started driving. All my fears eased as the unknown lost its cloak of danger and the wheel sensed the waves. Like Jim Corenman said at the seminar, the only difference between day driving and night driving is it is dark at night. Or as Sandy puts it, because you can't see the waves, you have one less thing to worry about. What I did learn was to sense the waves with my hands on the wheel, curtseying when necessary. The night was painted with stars and the usual ghost-like smudge of the Milky Way appeared freckled with stars.

If nighttime driving wasn't enough, I also had the great good fortune to enter the rainy end of a squall that drenched us as I drove through the highest winds we have seen on the crossing. Matt very kindly offered to take the helm Ð an offer I declined as I further tested myself earning me a nighttime driving in a squall badge. The boogie man of driving in the dark has been booted from Compromise as we are a crew of four with four drivers.

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