Day 31 Crossing the Line 2/10/13

 Oct 1 Equator

Behind the Blog  by MaryLou Wakefield

This evening, Glenn will cross the equator, a significant milestone in any offshore voyage, but particularly noteworthy in a 30,000 nautical mile solo circumnavigation. At 0 degrees latitude, it marks the ‘circle of latitude’ between the northern and southern hemispheres. So starting tomorrow, you’ll notice a difference in how his position is reported – the first number will be his position South, instead of North. This is Glenn’s third crossing – once in 1997 on a family trip to the South Pacific where our two daughters and I joined him for a year-long sailing adventure, once in 2007, on his first solo circumnavigation attempt, and today, on his second solo attempt. I’ll be raising a glass to you tonight from our home in Victoria. Cheers mate!

crossing the equator

Position: 00. 33 N, 153. 00 W @ 0:300 UTC

We’re less than 50 miles from the Equator so will probably cross some time during the night.  

I have some concerns about my rigging being loose especially the Harken Mk IV stay sail furler which is on the foredeck about 3 feet aft of the forestay just ahead of the anchor winch. It has the stay sail furled on it that I will be using when there is too much wind for the jib – twenty knots and up. In order to tighten it I need to get to the turn buckle which is at deck level or the bottom of the furler. First the sail has to come down and tied to the toe rail. We are doing 7 – 7.5 knots to windward with water over the bow all day, mind you nice warm water. In other words the guy with the fire hose has the staysail furler totally covered. Once I wrestle the sail to the toe rail and tied down, I’m soaked through. I have decided to wear a tee shirt and shorts so I don’t get burned and so I can carry the tools I need in the pockets, much better than the pockets in my birthday suit.

In order to get the drum assembly off at the base of the furler there is a cross pin with a cotter pin on one end and two nylon washers at each end of the pin about two inches above the deck and under the drum. The waves are 1-1.5 meters about 2-3 seconds apart. My tools that I have sprayed liberally with Fluid film consist of a WW II era pliers and a small pair of vice grips. The cotter pin comes out fairly easy and out comes the pin and I manage to catch both nylon washers as well. These important irreplaceable bits go into the pocket of my shorts. Although the water is warm having it thrown in your face while trying to perform a tricky maneuver,  even at the dock, is at times hilarious, and makes me say out loud, “What in the hell are you doing?” That turns out to be the easy part. The next part is to remove four small allen head screws from a small clamp which holds the hub base to the foil at the right spot. I manage to remove all four of the screws and they go in the shorts pocket as well. I lift the hub base and hold it in place with the vice grips and start to remove the two turn buckle cotter pins storing those in my mouth.

With the old pliers and the vice grips, I am able with about four turns to take out the annoying slack and it’s time to put it all back together hoping I have the same luck as I did taking it apart. I pause for a bit and decide to go back to the cockpit to re group. That hour and a half on the foredeck went by quickly. The salt water is stinging my eyes and my glasses are well out of focus, and with the wind over my wet clothes, I’m starting to get chilly.  I have an idea while I’m cleaning my glasses that I will put all the bits and pieces in a small zip lock bag so I can  find them easily. Back on the fore deck the bag works well and I manage to get it all back together. There are times that are flashes out of the movie where I’m trying to save the world … if only I can just get the pin in, bomb won’t go off and I can save the day.

I finish putting the housing back together and decide to stop for lunch before doing any more. I treat my self to a large pancake and scrambled eggs washed down with a beer. After a short nap I’m am ready for the next stage. I put my almost dry shorts and tee shirt back on and off I go. Things go well and in just under an hour the staysail is back up and furled on the foil and the wagging that was so bothersome is gone.

Another full day here as we slide down across the Equator. 

Heading: 205 Boat Speed: 7.3 knots Wind: E 15 knots Swell: W 1.5 m Cloud: 10% Bar: 1007 Temp: 30 C Miles last 24 hrs: 150




  1. Harvey Russell says

    Possible next land sighting would be the Island of Malden on your way to the Cook Islands. Do you pass by close enough to these smaller Islands (atolls) to visually see them, or do you stay clear for safety reasons?
    “Aitutaki” in the Cook Islands group, is as close to paradise as it comes. Hoping to return back there again one day, I should put it on my “Bucket List”. Favourable winds and safe harbours to WWII and all who sail aboard her.

  2. Frank Powell says

    Glenn, sounds like you are enjoying your lunch time beer. Hope you brought enough to last the voyage?

  3. Pat and Fred Lark says

    Hi Glenn,

    Congratulations! so exciting and I know this is hard to imagine but from our armchair it is happening so quickly. We will celebrate your milestone at our turkey feast with Peter and Gayle. As always we are keeping an eye on you. Happy sailing.

    Pat and Fred

  4. Ron Blackwell says

    Hi Glenn
    Just a reminder. I am told that when you cross the Equator you are to push an oar into the water at just the right moment. That way you will push the line down and it won’t catch on the keel. Failing to do this you will pull all the little black lines marking the Equator and the various degrees right off the globe and all the charts. LOL. Have followed you all along and your postings are interesting. Excellent mileage so far. Congratulations:
    Last time we spoke was on Paul Lim’s boat in Cadboro Bay and we talked about this trip. All the best from Vida de Oro

  5. I love your sense of humour and ingenuity when describing the hilarity of your balancing act and storage orifices for such a crucial operation with the sail furler. Bonne Chance and Congratulations crossing the Equator. Doug

  6. Rick Sample says

    Arrrh, Matey:

    Welcome to the southern hemisphere.

    • Frank and Linda in Campbell River, BC says

      Congratulations Glenn, we are following your journey like hawks, or should I say like Albatrosses!!

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