Monday, June 23, 2008

Approaching 50 hours

Kurt gazing at the Island
From Crewmember Kurt Hoehne:
Capaz is headed to her new, temporary home. She’s got personality, this one, but more on that later.
All the players, from skipper to boat, seem pretty happy out here 300 miles north of Hawaii.
Skipper Brad’s “moment” with his new boat came this morning. Having set up Capaz for the close reach she enjoys so very much, and with the autopilot Jorge comfortably doing his job, Brad watched the perfect sunrise and patted his new family on the cockpit seat. It was a rare moment of bonding. Then Jorge and Capaz decided to play a little trick on him, the boat veering off course and the autopilot saying “Sorry Meester skipper, I doenoo wha happen.” Isn’t that the way of the best relationships, generally great with a surprise once in a while? Just don’t take them too seriously.
For Brad this trip seems a lot more than just a delivery home. After helping so many people acquire or equip their boats to handle their dreams, this is his. He’s getting to know Capaz gradually; the pat on the cockpit was perhaps the equivalent of holding a girlfriend’s hand for the first time. Their not married, but they like each other a lot.
The gleam in Brian’s eyes about becoming a voyager is becoming a floodlight. After being initiated with a slip and crash in the cockpit on the first day his footfalls have become more measured, never assuming traction where there might be none. The occasional mutter as Capaz throws him around the cabin is the sign of someone whose embraced life at 15 degrees of heel. It’s pretty clear that everything onboard is getting file away for future reference.
Instinctively Brian is a great shipmate. First to cook, first to clean, it seems impossible that the longest passage he’s done is from the San Juans to Seattle. Perhaps the most interesting thing, one the flies in the face of conventional wisdom about getting people into sailing, is that he got into the sport initially without guidance or instruction or encouragement. It attracted him, and he took to it.
Eric was made for being at sea. While always pretty mellow, there’s an easy and contentment that comes over him as soon as a boat clears harbor. This seems especially true for this passage. It was clear that for days the anticipation for hand trolling had been building. When there was no gaff to be found onboard and no opportunity to buy one materialized, he made one of a piece of wood and metal. And at the moment he saw the two mahi mahi strike the lines, there was not a happier person on earth. The transition from laid back cruiser to hunter was immediate and joyous. To his everlasting credit and the gratitude of his shipmates he not only cleaned the fish, he cooked them as well. It was a complete triumph.
Catch Eric in a quieter moment and he’ll reveal where his mind really is, his own cruise. His Cal 33 is getting hauled and equipped, and plans with no timetable are taking shape. And like his fishing exercise, there is little doubt there will be triumph.
And for me it’s one of many dreams come true in the past few years. The funny thing about this dream is that it’s been in my imagination since the first moment I had imagination, and the reality is pretty much the equivalent of the dream. I’m finding the sea legs that I’ve never had the opportunity to exercise this far from land. And they even work. I think often of introducing Abby and Ian to this thing I love so much.
A bit about Capaz. The name apparently is Portuguese for “capable.” That seems appropriate enough on a lot of levels. She’s certainly capable, and while not looking old, she’s not to be mistaken for young. And while not stout, she’s not to be mistaken for svelte. She is, in fact, seasoned. One could easily imagine her as a Portuguese fisherman’s wife, one who is steady and strong. And one who is comfortable in their sense of self and has seen it all. The kind of boat to go to sea in.

From Captain Brad:
Navy plane doing a fly by
The US Navy reached us on the VHF to ask our course speed and intentions. Evidently there is going to be a live missile exercise near the area we are in and they thought it might be better if we weren't here when it happened. The sailing is very pleasant now. The waves have reduced and we still have wind in the high teens. We made 163 miles today and about 160 yesterday.

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