Saturday, September 14, 2013

Thursday, September 12. Rough Sailing

Thursday, September 12, 2013 8 a.m.
What a night! The boat constantly rocked from side to side, sometimes with loud rumbles and crashes as the waves hit the hull. Often times we slid or rolled across the bed, to which we'd attached a wooden board to hold us in. I already had a stiff neck, and this did not make it better. There was a pattern to the rocking, a crescendo of side to side rocks, then an all too brief hiatus, almost no motion at all, and then a bit of tilt from bow to stern, then it would start over again. With every repeat of the cycle, I hoped and prayed this one would be the last. Eventually I was so tired that I slept for awhile, but it was impossible to be truly comfortable. For awhile I braced my knee against the board and one arm against the mast at the head of the bed that held the board. 
At 4:30 we got up to sail again. My neck hurt, but the usually sore back was not too bad. We were finally warm under all of our blankets, and I was reluctant to get out in the dark and cold. Lew had plotted us a course of of over 150 miles. But I crawled over the rail and made my way into the head where I managed ok with all the rocking until I stood up straight and reached up to turn on the light, which caused a spasm of intense pain in my center back. I gasped for breath and moaned, and managed to sit on the toilet seat without falling out the door and collapsing on the floor. I could hardly breathe and was in a cold sweat and light-headed when Kent, who had heard me came back to the aft cabin and found me. After a few minutes I felt better, but still shaken. Kent brought some pineapple juice and ibuprofen, and I crawled back into bed. Lew and Kent got the anchor up and motor running, which immediately smooth the swell to some extent, and I dozed off, missing the view of Whitby in the gloom. 
I did get up and into the cockpit in time to see Robin Hood's Bay and look at the stark cliffs where I'd walked alone so many years ago, now feeling much better. Kent is at the helm and Lew and Ann have gone back to bed, too. The swells continue, but there is little to no wind, so we are motoring with one sail up. We've moved farther off shore, away from the headlands and fishing boats, so except for occasional birds there is nothing to see but gray water and sky, and the cold is chilling. Bed seems the best place to spend such a passage. There is no heat in the boat other than from the gas stove top and that generated by the engine. I have been thinking of the tales my grandparents told of awful crossings of the North Sea.
4:20 p.m.
I slept for awhile again this morning, then went out to watch again. We are making good progress, and the sun shone hazily for an hour or so, which made us all feel more cheerful.
I washed my leggings and one pair of underpants, and dressed in clean pants, leaving my long-sleeved t-shirt under my Mexican dress on top, with wool scarf and fleece and parka above that. Fetching, I'm sure. It warmed up in the cockpit, but it is still very cold here in the aft cabin.
We are planning an overnight passage, to either Great Yarmouth or on to Harwich, depending on our speed. We have been motoring, with slight sail assist sometimes, between 5 and7knots mostly depending on current. This doesn't make for very fast traveling.
We began passing many oil rigs and tankers this afternoon.

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