Saturday, April 1, 2017

Enroute to Topolobampo: Downwind Sailing, Peacefulness

Finally, the wind and waves arrange themselves to remind me why I love sailing. A breeze from the south quadrant has been blowing since we left Mazatlan at noon yesterday and we have been sailing ever since, save for a few hours when the wind was either too late or the waves were impeding our progress. That's over 20 hours of mostly downwind sailing with mostly following seas! It's been lovely.

Last night the wind was coming from the South-Southeast blowing between 15 and 20 knots and putting us on a broad reach with short following swells. The wind was fresh and steady, filling the Code 0 with occasional crisp snaps as we surfed down a wave and the wind spilled from and then abruptly refilled the sail, Intermezzo moving sweetly through the sea at 6 knots. The waves coming from the port quarter made swishing, hissing sounds as they passed diagonally under our hulls, rocking us gently but noticeably. The night air was quite cool, the sky partly cloudy with a crescent moon that made a brief appearance and then descended quickly below the horizon as the stars peeked at us all night long from between the clouds.

I felt very much at peace during my 3 to 6 a.m. watch last night, a feeling that has eluded me for many months now. Moving with the wind and waves instead of against them is clearly a valid metaphor for finding peace in life, as is feeling very humble and small with nature and the grand universe visible, tangible and surrounding one in three dimensions and available to all five (six?) senses. I welcomed that peaceful feeling and was grateful for it in the moment and for its after effects on my spirit.

Favorable winds have continued for us through the morning, although the seas are quite confused, with swells coming simultaneously from the northwest and south. The boat's motion is less comfortable and the waves are slow us down, especially when the crests of two opposing swells collide and form a little mountain peak for us to pass over. Fortunately both sets of swells are only about 3 feet high, so the impact on comfort and speed is quite tolerable and the occasional mountain peaks are indeed quite small.

I checked the compass to make sure all these good conditions weren't an April Fool's joke by the autopilot heading us in the wrong direction. Nope, I'm on course. Sailing. Doing fine. Content. Savoring the feelings while they last.