Feb 21-22, Raising the North Star

Date: Feb. 22, 2017, noon Position: 9 52.82 N, 44 15.75 W

I believe I read that the Atlantic Ocean is saltier than the Pacific or the Indian. Judging by the rock-salt crystals all over the boat, I would have to agree. It’s like someone took a giant salt grinder and sprinkled a fine powder on every surface of the boat. You can run your finger across the woodwork, and it comes up white. Large square crystals gather in the winch handle sockets, in the deck iron, in the sails and on the solar panels. The stanchions are weeping rust. I am looking forward to the day we enter into the Intra-Coastal Waterway, where we will blast every surface with hot fresh water, joy soap, and vinegar!

Gradually over the past few days our persistent cloud-cover has given way to a clear trade-wind sky. We’re coming up on the new moon now, and the nights are filled with stars. We’ve reached a great milestone on the journey: at Latitude 9N, the North Star finally rose above the haze of the night horizon! The Big Dipper pours upside-down above. Looking to the south, we can see the Southern Cross, lowering gently and slowly toward the ocean swells. Direction never felt so certain at sea, with both North Star and Southern Cross (and the associated Pointer stars) to guide us true. Privateer is the needle in the celestial compass.

We’ve had a pleasant last two sailing days, with a return to low seas and and fair winds. The forecast is showing stronger trades in the 20-21 knot range next week as we approach the Caribbean, so we are taking a more northerly tack now, to set us up for an easterly approach once the winds kick up. No complaints for now, we’ve been moving right along between 5-7 knots at a steady clip.

Leave a Reply