Today ended in rather discombobulating fashion. The wind decided to start pirouetting round all the points of the compass, and to kick up to around 18 knots at times, then die away to nothing. This capriciousness made steering very difficult. On more than one occasion when I took a snack break I returned to the oars to find the boat had done a full 180 about-turn. It was most disconcerting to find the sun or the moon on the wrong side of the boat.
I’ve tried various steering mechanisms over the years. On the Atlantic I had foot steering but found it awkward to row with my foot cocked at a strange angle. For the first stage of the Pacific I experimented with an autopilot, but it wasn’t robust enough to stand up to conditions on board. During my unintentional capsize drills of 2007 the autopilot ended up split down the side with its O ring hanging out like disembowelled intestines.
So I have ended up with the simplest of all steering mechanisms – two bits of string tied to the rudder and trained through eyelets back into the cockpit. usually this is all I need – it’s not a big deal to stop rowing and correct the course when you only have to do it once a day, if that. But it’s a bit more of a pain when the wind decides to dance the docie-doe (spelling?!) all around me. Let’s hope it’s back to better behaviour tomorrow.
Alf the spider ran up my leg today. He’s quite pretty actually, with nice black and white markings.
The birds are back in town. I came out on deck this morning to find about 6 noddies in residence. At least they poop less prolifically than boobies, although there was still a distinct aroma of guano about the boat today.
Abigail – thanks for the cartoon! Mum had to describe it for me, as she couldn’t send it, but I absolutely get it. SO true! I know there is so much interesting wildlife out there (although sadly not as much as there used to be) but it’s all down there and I’m up here and rarely do the twain meet!
If you haven’t checked out my eBay store recently, please do. I know Carina has been hard at work adding new items for sale – including the e-book of my Atlantic blogs, the raw material on which my book was based. The e-book also includes photos, the official race press releases, and notes from my mother. And it’s an absolute bargain at $4.25! (I think, but working from memory here – anyway, I remember it was incredibly cheap!)
[photo: another blue, blue day]