Some people like to call it a “Shake down cruise” but I think that sounds too nicey nicey. There has been nothing “cruisey” about the last two weeks on board Kate. The term “Sea Trial” seems much more appropriate.
As is the norm before a passage and after a long period on the hard we took the boat out for sea trials. It is a chance to test new equipment, check existing systems, find faults and set up gear. It is a chance to re-familiarize ourselves and the boat with the business of sailing and living on board in the harsh environment of the ocean. Breakages are expected, even preferred at this point. After all it is easier to fix things when you’re only miles from the nearest chandlery or town than it is when those resources are literally days away. They might say that bad things come in 3’s, but after a couple of days it was starting to feel like we are getting them in 3’s3.
I can’t list everything that has failed/broken/fatigued in the last two weeks; to put it all in writing would be an overwhelming exercise that would threaten to tip the scales on my already precariously balanced morale. Nore can I show you many photos. There just isn’t the opportunity to reach for a camera when you’re manually pumping diesel so the engine doesn’t stop and the boat run aground. Or time for a photo opt when a you’re elbow deep prepping six months worth of meat that is quickly thawing on the counter and the vacuum packer decides not to work.
I can, however, tell you that with a lot hard work, quick thinking and some sleepless nights we have managed to solve most of our problems.
We’ve been leaning on each other pretty hard these last few weeks, often requiring the other person to physically complete a task, regularly looking to the other person for support and encouragement. And although there has been some harsh words spat during intense moments of frustration (say like when I try and help and just end up spilling diesel or dropping something in the bilge) we have also managed to find a silver lining, or at least a joke in our misfortunes.
We have, now and then to release our stress, engaged in the time honoured tradition of screaming profanities at the top of our lungs, directed at nothing and no one in particular. But we have laughed until tears at the sheer absurdity and improbability of things as they are happening as well.
We have a couple loose ends to tie up in the not-working-properly department before we clear out and sail west next week, but there is now light at the end of what last week was a very dark tunnel. As it turns out our sea trials were as much about putting the boat and equipment through the paces as it was about exercising our ingenuity and stick-togetherness. If we have learned anything over the past two weeks it has been that we are more of a team than ever.
After a long, frustrating day and a hot shower ashore we still enjoy a cold beer together and chat about the great adventure we are living. We are still excited about what the future holds and ready to discover more about the world and ourselves.
We passed this sea trial, but the ocean is a relentless teacher and I know there are many more challenges that lie ahead.