Alone Like a Rolling Stone

We are picking up speed.

After white elephants overtook us last week, it's time to step on the gas a bit. That is easier said than done, when the necessary wind is simply missing. Gaby thinks I'm not doing it right, with the sails and the course and all the things that have to do with sailing, but she doesn't know any better and so two ignorant people try to find a pin called Gambier in the middle of the Pacific. Well, there are also smaller pins than Gambier in the Pacific, but in addition the distance of 4000 nautical miles is a challenge for us. Never before have we covered such a great distance, all at once. Our longest beat was, with almost 1800 nautical miles, the Atlantic crossing, from Cape Verde to French Guiana. Now the distance is more than twice as far, and with the little wind we've had so far, more than twice as long. Honestly, we would like to arrive, preferably yesterday or today and if that is not possible, then at least tomorrow, but unfortunately it is still more than 1000 nautical miles to the destination.

Everything alright on the Katinka

The weather forecast has been announcing more wind for days. Every day they postpone it again by one day. On the 40th day the sea starts to get even more turbulent than it already is. Dense clouds hang around us, which do not bode well. In the afternoon a squall with 30 knots of wind catches us again and brings the Katinka quickly underway. This is the first of three squalls that hit us hard. When the squalls are gone, the wind is usually gone for the time being. What remains is usually a choppy sea that throws you from one side to the other, and where it is best to lie down first. Not so today. The wind continues to hold its 20 knots and it has gotten damn cold. With the choppy seas, it's not easy to trim the sails. Luckily we had put the first reef in the main before the squalls started. So we only have to furl the genoa a little bit (which is a big challenge at 20 knots, by hand) and so we shoot into the night with up to 10 knots speed over ground. Etmale of 161, 171 and 163 nautical miles follow. The sea builds up, with up to 30 knots in the gust, to four meters and keeps us day and night, permanently in breath. On the third day there is a series of thirteen squalls, which change the direction and strength of the wind so much that the sails have to be readjusted again and again. At some point it happens that I get my left index finger between winch and sheet, and an ugly gaping wound, the finger swells blood red. Since the maneuver has not yet been completed, it must be finished before the wound can be treated. A huge mess is created on deck, but due to the overcoming sea, it is quickly removed. The finger remains probably on it, but until that is healed again, weeks pass. The mood is at its lowest point. But after the last squall has passed, a bit of calm comes into the boat. The wind drops to 15 knots and blows more constantly from the east-southeast. I put on Stumpfes Zieh- und Zupfkapelle and sing along loudly. This puts a smile back on Gaby's face and soon the stressful three days are forgotten. The next day we have splendid trade wind weather. 15 knots of wind from the southeast, nice and stable and a calming sea. On this day, we have not touched the sails once. With six to eight knots Katinka pulls her track. We relax and let the soul dangle. After all, we have managed 500 nautical miles in these three days. Last week we could only dream of that. Now we are still 450 nautical miles away from the Gambier Islands. If the weather stays like this we can make it until Sunday. If the weather stays like this! The weather forecast predicts calm for Saturday, maybe it will shift for several days, two would be enough for us. Even if it doesn't work out - we can't change it anyway - the goal is slowly visible and we are looking forward to the Gambiers. And even if I have a handicap with my finger (I'm left-handed and the nose picking is really a problem for me now), we made it, at least until here, largely unscathed. We are looking forward to seeing the Mare again and are curious about the stories the crew has to tell. Because one thing is clear, who sails on the Pacific, always has something to tell. Even though we were in daily contact via email, we haven't seen each other since the departure, in Vista Mar. I think we imagined it differently. Nevertheless, it is always a good feeling to know a boat nearby. In this sense, we wish you always a guardian angel on your side, fair winds and keep a stiff upper lip.