Death defying galley antics


I realized this morning that I left the InReach tracking device down below by the Nav. station overnight so it could be charged and of course  it wouldn’t have have been able to send out any location markers from there because it can’t see any satellites. Rest assured it is now back in its velcro holder strapped just inside the dodger which covers the main hatch.

We have a beautiful robin’s egg blue Southern Ocean sky this morning. There are low clouds all around the horizon and the sun, which is off the bow is warming the cabin and shining in my eyes occasionally. West Wind and I weave our way through the great heaving 4-5 metre seas being pushed along by a very healthy 15-20 knot South Westerly cool wind.  

In the cockpit last night at dusk and after dinner I spent an hour figuring out our strategy and sail plan for the night. I decided on 2/3 of the yankee out and stayed with the double reefed main. We’re on a broad reach, with the wind coming just aft of our beam. This gives us a course of just about due east. I am very happy to say this combination allowed me to sleep through the night without having to get my full rain gear on and go up on deck once. Going up on deck and out into the night is not a bad thing and most times I am rewarded with a galactic scale show better than IMAX that I will never tire of.  It feels good to have WW II stay on course while I happily sleep in my nice warm bunk.  

Nice thing about the mug of tea this morning is holding the warm mug with both hands.

I’m very excited this morning to  start carving my chain out of a solid piece of wood. I have it all laid out and my chisels and  sharpening stone at the ready. The big challenge will be the motion! The lovely little set of Henry Taylor chisels I have are very sharp, and a steady hand may be hard to find …actually impossible. So I have a healthy supply of band aids, but I’m thinking a boat load of patience may be the order of the day. I will let you know how it goes. If it’s anything like the relationship I have with our “Princess” stove, it’s going to be a chain with a few missing links.

I happily finished my first batch of stew last night so today will start a new one (onions, potatoes, dried mushrooms, and the usual cans of beans and corn along with tomato paste and spices).

Let me try to set the scene here on board in the galley of West Wind II. The galley along with the Nav station are the two most important areas on board, not that my bunk and the head are not important to me,  just less glamorous. All are subject to the inexplicable and thoroughly random and sometimes violent and always surprising motion of the powerful waves, of which there are an unlimited supply day and night, 24/7. Sailors long ago figured out that if you gimballed a stove, it would stay level while the boat gyrated madly about. Imagine, that you are completely ungimballed, just trying to stand up and pour liquid into a pot that is trying very hard to avoid getting liquid in it at all. Docking the space shuttle into the space station would be easier. Cooking on a boat in a seaway is best described as having a barbecue mounted in the back of a pick up truck while your best drunken friend drives the road say from Jordan River to Port Renfrew (on Vancouver Island) occasionally, and without notice trying to navigate the ditch on either side while you are trying to make dinner. The stretch of road I have just mentioned is guaranteed to make even me car sick without my drunken friend driving. Standing up is almost impossible.

Take sautéing onions, for example. It’s almost all I can manage to walk forward and get them from their storage basket in the bow of the boat. Cutting them up on the counter is a blood sport and crying form the onion fumes is the least of my worries. These, when prepped are put in the open pressure cooker, kind of like hooping a basket ball from the other end of the court. Never, do all the bits make it in. Now, the gimballed stove with the pressure cooker on it is nothing short of a lethal weapon.

Just lighting the stove is monumental. To light it you must turn and hold in the control nob of this wildly gyrating cube of metal and hold the lighter at the same time in the other hand. Important to note you have to use two hands. This is where the third hand is an absolute necessity. Without it, you are definitely in the handicap zone. Timing is everything. Hold the lighter in one hand while holding on for dear life, then negotiate the knob, push it in and hold it, immediately strike the lighter, let go of your grip, and try to point the flame into the gyrating burner. For this operation you have half a millisecond before you lose your balance and are thrown across the cabin into the nav station and bruise your ribs again and fall screaming to the cabin sole or, you get lucky and the burner bursts into flame and your hand is back in time to stop the fall. Now, it’s just a matter of holding the knob in till the sensor heats up enough to stay alight. This usually takes 10 – 12 seconds, an eternity!  Should you lose your grip and let go of the inward pressure and the burner goes out, you start all over again. Practice makes perfect.  

Its now 8:40 am and as you can see making my stew will be a life threatening experience and most likely take all day.  I haven’t had breakfast yet, god knows how long that will take.

I also have to say that while I am typing this message, the cursor on my screen, without notice jumps to the middle of the page and if I’m not careful will go unnoticed for a few sentences until I’m forced to delete and start again.

On the bright side, I have to say it is wonderful for me to hear your encouraging comments on Marylou’s blog. She sends them along to me every day. Please keep those cards and letters coming!


  1. Excellent news. Of course, I’ve been against the whole thing from the beginning. Now Lou can meet you on some exotic island in French Polynesia, and I don’t have to have my first waking thought be of Glenn in the middle of a storm, all by himself.

    Thank you, thank you, for coming back!

  2. Very entertaining read as always Glen!
    Does WW ever round up and broach in the night an if so do you normally stay below and just let her sort her self out? What was the interval between the 5 meter waves last night?
    Good luck and fair winds!

  3. Warm Greetings from Simostown Glenn
    Strawberry icecream is still waiting but possibly a bit stale now!
    Take care and fair winds my friend.


  4. Barry Mitchell says

    Absolutely love the description of the cooking procedure. Dam near burst my sides laughing, if it wasn’t so dangerous. Nah, laughed my head off anyway, hahaha.
    I must tell you about me and grinders and cut off disks sometime. Nearly as dangerous, less flames, most of the time, haha. I think you will enjoy the “a short history of nearly everything” as I did listening to it on audio book. Must go and revisit it sometime. Fair winds my friend.

  5. Duane Bertrand says

    Glenn Good to see that you’re putting on a few miles and things are going well for you. Still a long way to go but hey you will get here and back to the grind at work. See you then and happy sailing.

  6. You need a harnass hanging from whatever you call a ceiling on a boat! Again a very interesting read. I got to page 14 of Bill Bryson’s book before falling asleep. Dreaming of all those atoms that make us who we are. Keep yours together Glenn.

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