Opposite day

Fear is a funny thing. I know that the worst a squall can do is give you a good soaking as you take in sails. However, when the meanest and toughest looking squall in the East Pacific is in front of your mast, it takes your breath away a little.

It was a day of opposites. The morning gave squally confused seas with comparatively bitterly cold winds. For the first time in many weeks I wore a jumper and pants.

By noon we had a baking sun on top of steady winds, which, by evening gave way to a patch of nasty squalls. I’ve been threading in and out of them for the last few hours, and I think I’m nearly clear!

I’ve maintained good boat speed nonetheless, with 120 miles, my best run this side of the doldrums.

I’ve been reading Jessica Watson’s book True Spirit to get some last minute tips. Apparently the report following her collision with the cargo ship Silver Yang, criticised her for not having a written fatigue management plan.

I had to have a little chuckle.

Now don’t get me wrong, systemic approaches to problems are often life saving, you just have to look at the medical field or aviation to see this. It seems that human nature, once given an effective tool, wants to apply it to everything.

My fatigue management plan goes something like this:

h Do I think, taking into account current circumstances, that I should be sleeping?
Yes – go to sleep. No – don’t go to sleep.

h Is it unsafe or otherwise unwise, taking into account current circumstances, that I sleep until I wake up?
Yes – set an alarm. No – don’t set an alarm

h Am I supposed to be sleeping, but am unable to due to various external factors such as noise or extraneous movement?
Yes – Small quantity of alcohol, soothing music and reading of book by bedside until asleep.

My point is that common sense extrapolates to small scale operations much more effectively than systems management.

And this, is the most satisfying aspect of solo ocean sailing.

Latitude: 19.475, Longitude: -126.499, Time: 05:17:11 20-06-2018 UTC