Murphy strikes & smooth seas

Date:June 10, 2016, 4 a.m.
Position:16 59.00 S, 165 54.00 E

Our friends Mark & Cat on S/V “Tuuletar” have a funny saying about how Murphy’s Law strikes all sailboats at precisely 2am, and how the motion of the boat through the swells and the infinite problems that can arise on a boat can combine in some very interesting ways. Murphy struck Privateer at 2am last night when I suddenly heard the whoosh of our galley fire extinguisher go off about one second before finding myself enveloped in a thick cloud of irritant dry chemical powder. Earlier in the month, Taz had taught himself how to break the plastic seal and pull the pin out of the fire extinguisher. Re-locating the unit to an above-Taz location was on the long list of minor boat chores that got overlooked by engine work, rigging, etc. Anyway, at some unknown time Taz had again pulled the pin and stashed it god only knows where–I’ll probably find it in the bilge–leaving the fire extinguisher in the “armed” mode. All it took was for a heavy object to shift from the quarter-berth to the floor as the boat leaned into a swell–and down it came right on top of the trigger. And of course this happened at 2am. I thought about Mark and Cat then, and how they would probably tell me that while this was an unexpected event, I should expect this to happen at some point on the voyage.

Kelsey & Taz slept right through the ordeal, fortunately, as I swept the thick layer of irritating powder from the floor. The boat looked like a night club with the fog powder swirling around in the red lights below-decks. The galley took a direct hit, of course, and all of our dishes and Kelsey’s herbs and many sensitive electronics needed immediate attention. Later on, Kelsey worked all day cleaning up the mess. Taz adds a degree of power to Murphy’s Law. One time he stuffed about 15 oranges into a little slot above the radio locker. When you go to use the SSB you don’t expect oranges to spill out of the doors! One of his greatest passions (other than shouting “OHH–NOH!” before throwing any object within his reach to the floor) is stuffing small objects into the finger holes in our floorboards. Ultimately, anything that goes in there ends up getting soaked in the bilge, covered in a thin layer of oily debris, and poses a hazard to our automatic bilge pump as they accumulate around the float switch and intakes. Baby-proofing a house is quite different than baby-proofing a boat…

We had a fine sail today in low seas, beam-reaching along at 6 knots! Made 145 miles good from noon-to-noon since yesterday–pretty great for light-wind sailing. The boat is staying cool below with all the hatches open and we are moving along nicely. Our distance to cover on this leg is about the distance between Seattle and Chicago. The trades are forecast to intensify throughout this week and should give us a pretty lively sail in a few day’s time. For now we’re enjoying the lighter winds, although we’ve reefed down the main at sunset in anticipation for the wind increase to come.

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