Woke up: Isle San Francisco, Baja California Sur, Mexico
Went to sleep: Timbabiche, Bahia San Carlos, Baja California Sur, Mexico
Peter and I operate this vessel like precision gears rotating as one. We’ve lived aboard for nine years and sailed over 5,000 miles in the past 20 months.
When leaving the anchorage early in the morning, Peter gets up before me. I sleep longer while he makes the coffee, checks the engine oil, turns on the instruments, fires up the engine, removes the sail covers, takes down the dodger and cheerfully informs me, “Coffee’s on the table!”
After half a cup, I get dressed, turn on the windlass and take my place at the helm.
Peter begins rigging the main sail while I confirm the steering is unlocked and control of the autopilot is at the helm.
Peter heads to the bow to search for the anchor. Due to wind and current, Penelope has been roaming about continuously since the anchor went down. It’s fun to follow the chain to where the anchor lies deeply buried in the sand, like following the yellow brick road. He signals with his arms which direction I am to steer.
We’re typically anchored in 25-feet of water with 225-feet of chain deployed. Once the windlass has reeled in about 50-feet, Peter runs below – I hand him his gloves on the way – to “flake” the chain. This involves lifting our mattress, opening the cover on the chain locker and pushing chain further into the locker to make room for more. This process continues until all 225-feet of 3/8-inch steel anchor chain is put away.
Once he hollers, “We’re up!” that’s my que to drive us out of the bay.
Peter finishes removing the lazy jacks, releases the sail ties, attaches the halyard and prepares to raise the main sail. If it’s a windy day, we’ll head out with a single reef in. By the time we’re out of the anchorage, he has the sail aloft. We begin to heel and I cut back on the throttle. Once the head sail is also engaged, I turn off the engine and begin to get a sense of how the boat is going to behave on this particular day under these conditions. It’s never the same.
Today we covered 36 nautical miles averaging 6 knots. The wind was uncharacteristically out of the south which made for a luxurious trip north into the Sea of Cortez.
The boat laid flat on the water throughout the day, making it easy to move around, make guacamole, and assist Peter when necessary. Mostly I sat on my cushion in the cockpit and did crossword puzzles which I find excellent calisthenics for the brain.
As we approach our anchorage, there’s always the challenge of taking down the main sail. I fire up the engine, put her in gear and steer the boat so her nose is facing directly into the wind. Of course, this causes all hell to break loose as the main sail and all its ancillary lines begin to flap widely in the breeze. I hurriedly engage the auto pilot to hold the boat in place so I can momentarily leave the helm to direct the boom into the boom crutch and the main sail falls neatly into the lazy jacks. Peter straps it up tight with the sail ties and life is good again.
Once the anchor is set, the work begins. We turn off the instruments and replace their covers. We shut down the navigation computer and tuck it away. I take the stacel sail cover to the front of the boat and wrestle the cover over the sail. Then I move back to help Peter with the main sail cover. Our main sail, which is fairly new, is stiff and balky. We call it “fatso.” It takes all four hands to stuff the sail inside its cover and button it up.
Next, I help erect the dodger. This heavy canvas zips onto a frame and shades the cockpit.
Finally, we are done. We crack open a cold Pacifico and rest in the shade in the cockpit, proud of our profound accomplishment and absorbing our new surroundings.
After a brief rest, Peter lowers the dinghy from the davits and mounts the 9.9 HP Yamaha outboard motor to the stern. He launches My Boat and his SUP so we are ready to play.
Our solar panels and wind generator are working so efficiently, we have ample amperage to watch a move after dinner. Before bed, Peter squeezes the toothpaste from the end and rolls the tube up tight. I wipe excess toothpaste from the lid. We’ve grown into our respective jobs with everything we do.