Patty Rosky Sails to Hawaii on Nancy Erley’s Tethys
By Patty Rosky
Orientation included provisioning food for 4 women, $800 Canadian. The return taxi dragged bottom at each turn. Additional gallons of diesel and water were stowed below and lashed above. We spliced/whipped lines, tapped holes in the newly painted boom for lazy jacks.
Heading Out to Sea
Then, on June 4, 25 knots reduced to 15, we motored the treacherous 60 mile Strait of Juan de Fuca to Neah Bay fishing village, the last US point west. Two days later, a weather break, we headed 200 miles straight west past the continental shelf, therefore, calmer seas before going south.
Running 150 miles per day the first 10 days on a reach, Tethys was singled reefed from the start with a 110 jib shortened or lengthened as needed via roller furling, Once we headed southwest and the Trades we were wing on wing. We averaged 5.5 knots and motored for movement rarely. Never in a storm nor really rained on.
Eagle-eyed Nancy studied weather charts each day. Family e-mail via ham/laptop computer was slow but worked. We made the daily roll call with the Seafarers Net. The mainland ham radio operator “This is Bob with One O” became my favorite contact. His voice showed special respect for both our boat and captain.
On June 24, 2 am we sailed to the Hawaii Yacht Club on Waikiki where I spent 10 glorious days on Tethys docked next to the showers and immersed in ISPA course materials for bareboat chartering certification. Loved the yacht club. Loved meeting sailors coming in from all over the world. Loved walking to the beach. Loved eating at the club restaurant. Drinks $2.
Rolling and Rocking
In a nutshell the most important points to keep in mind: Boat movement is significant and physically wearing, 24-7, side-to-side, up-down. Seasick patches are good. Three days on, one day off. See how you do. The watch schedule divided among three: two three-hour shifts and one two-hour shift each day. Captain floated as needed. Everybody sleeps lots between watches as the body adjusts. A bunk becomes a palace. No place for “from-home projects.” When below, it feels better to lie down than to sit up. Sitting, braced, works for a while.
On deck, exercise and movement feel good. Pack lightly but wisely. I wore the same clothes for days. It’s not worth the effort to search for articles in duffles nor to manage a change with the boat motion. Double up on key items: fine wool long johns, 200-weight fleece tops and bottoms, smart wool socks. No cotton Ts. No cotton underwear. They never dry and will keep you cold. Breathable foul weather gear is a must.
The Ocean Diet
For our stomachs: bland food ranked high (again, boat motion): white rice, cooked veggies, instant soups, pasta, oatmeal, pudding packets and lots of soda crackers. Simple fruits only: green apples (don’t rot), oranges rarely (too tart). No spaghetti sauces, minimal cooking. Cheese is good. Candy and cookies work wonders. It becomes “The All You Can Eat Diet and Still Loose Weight.”
Weather patterns, wave heights/direction, and percentage of cloud cover, course plotting, GPS, become our new vocabulary and 80% of conversation. The large wind vane aft becomes our most favorite piece of “machinery.” It’s much better than steering with a heavy tiller. (No wheel.) Autopilot is not a viable option if you want to save battery usage.
Preventers (boom to deck) stop accidental gibes. You learn to titillate the weathervane with simple lines to get just the right angle to the wind, so sails won’t backwind.
Patience is key. Two weeks out a bolt fell out of the wind vane. It took Nancy two tense hours kneeled, braced to the backstay, leaning over the aft end to remove all gears, to repair. She knows how to repair everything.
The ocean: Visual radius is 3-3 ½ miles until something reaches above sea level like a container ship extending visibility up to 6-7 miles. We typically radioed all passing vessels to verify visual contact. The respondents always wished us a good trip. However, not contacting a US military escort and partner caused them to parallel us for an hour then followed up with an armed helo sweep to check us out. No sea animals to speak of; it’s too deep. The one Albatross becomes our friend and you’re convinced it’s the same one always with you. Sunsets and sunrises are each unique and awesome. Cloudy, gray days are still beautiful.
The Pacific sailing trip was really something! It’s hard to explain this unique experience and its positive effect on the psyche. It’s not for everybody but it was for me. Thank you, Tethys.