Day 99 Riding the waves 9/12/13

Dec 9, 2013Position: 33.07 S, 102.56 E

Last night West Wind called to me, in her way, that she was off course.  She let me know with a distinct change in her motion which I am now fluent in. It brought me on deck, not in full foul weather gear, but two layers of fleece. I turned on the running lights and GPS to make getting back on course less of a white cane experience. My MEC (Mountain Equipment Co-op) LED headlight provided the  illumination I needed for this middle of the night exercise.

We were running down wind with the mainsail boomed out to port and the jib boomed out to starboard. Both are well secured by downhauls and a series of guys (lines) forward and aft to combat the 20 degree roll either way brought on in part, by a following sea. It takes some time to bring things back in line with my course objectives, mostly patience, because there are several small adjustments to the self steering vane that have to be made. After the adjustment, I need to wait ten or so minutes to see if we can maintain our course despite the death rolls. The upshot of all this is, I spend a fair bit of time in the cockpit in the dead of night. Sometimes when I’m waiting for WW II to settle in, I turn off my head light and the GPS and just soak up the experience of sailing in a great ocean in the middle of the night.

Each night has its own quality of light. Last night we were sailing under a quilted sky and above it the moon was back lighting the rising fluffy giants. The light that filtered through was ever so soft and subtle. Once I turned out the headlight and adjusted to night vision, I could just make out the line of the horizon off in the distance. West Wind’s light coloured decks and white sails became a distinct feature in the black nightscape. The rolling motion has the effect of being on a roller coaster, accompanied by the sound of rushing water and breaking waves. The waves were running beside us like a pack of dogs playfully chasing a pick-up tuck down a road. I sat for a while enjoying the ride,  my feet braced against the seat on the other side of the cockpit. It was exhilarating. Then I decided to go forward and climb into the seat in the pulpit which extends out beyond the bow.  If this were a ride at the amusement park, the line up would be a mile long and it would cost the earth. The quality of the filtered light through the clouds, the dark running sea and WW II’s light coloured hull running before the wind pushing her westward. The ride made my heart race and brought a broad smile to my face and a loud hoot and holler from deep in my soul. Like a kid, I was too excited to go back to sleep and seeing that I was the only one in line, I took a longer turn than I paid for, enjoying every single minute over every wave under the spectacular night sky.

Glenn in the pulpit seat

Taking a seat in the pulpit. Day 2 off the coast of Vancouver Island near Sooke, B.C.

Course 320 T Speed 4 knots Wind E 10 knots Waves E 1-2 metres cloud 100% Temp 16 C  Baro 1026 Volts 12.7



  1. Congratulations on Day 100 Glenn. I looked out from the shores of the Atlantic last evening and quietly sang this message to you.
    Spirit of Water Spirit of wind, guide us along till our ship comes in.
    For we’re all alone on this wide open sea, so far away from where we are meant to be.
    Enjoying your journals and all the best.
    Ellie Dufresne

  2. Daryl Noullette says

    Hello Ole Friend I want to pay tribute to you on your 100th day. Your courage and perseverance are inspiring to me on a daily basis. It was wonderful to hear your voice. All that said, if there ever was a guy who could get into some mischief, even out there. B-Aye-Eh!!! Daryl

  3. That was an amazing description of your ride in a frothing ocean. I have not been on a roller coaster for some years and your description sound like yours is much more fun, especially that you are the only kid in line for the thrill. My daughter chuckled that you are using a headlight from MEC as we too discovered they are great when camping in Algonquin Park. Thanks. Doug

  4. Mike Collins says

    Wonderful description. I recall similar thoughts crossing the Atlantic in the OSTAR.Looking at the stars on a clear night is a Total Perspective Vortex moment, seeing your place in the universe. Totally exhilarating at the same time. It is remarkable how much I enjoyed being on deck after struggling to get out of a cosy cot.

  5. marianne scott says

    Love the images Glenn. It’s definitely a book in the making. When I looked at the photo of you in the pulpit, I wondered if you’re tethered. Do you always tie on before you go on deck?

  6. Margaret Long says

    Really enjoying your journey Glenn. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Hi Glenn. You write, without a doubt the most beautifully descriptive daily messages that I look forward to reading. Even though I don’t know anything about sailing I feel I am on the West Wind when reading your updates and usually I am terrified. Stay well, stay warm. Judi

  8. Susan Bassett says

    Wonderful imagery! Going Solo emails are something I look forward to every day!! Safe travels!

  9. Heather Loenen says

    What an amazing ride! Glad to hear you did not take a dip while in the pulpit seat.

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