Logbook of Tinkerbelle – Part 2
Monday, June 7
Had a nice big breakfast of hot cereal (cereal bars, crumbled up and mixed with water), and hot coffee, fruit, etc. Then I got moving. It was a glorious day of sailing: blue sky, sunshine, wind and waves just right. Tinkerbelle just scooted along. Best of all, at noon I finally got a good sight and pinpointed my position — 40º 4′ N. and 67º31′ W. This is not as far along as I had hoped to be at this time, but I had a couple of bad days there at the start and maybe I can make up for them now.
I’m a little north of my planned route, too, but that may be an advantage.
Sighted quite a few whales — all far off. Also sighted a ship to the north which made me fearful that I was too near the shipping lane, so I turned south for a couple of hours. Then hove-to to sleep.
I was worried because it was fogging up and I no longer had my radar reflector (it was lost in the gale June 2). But finally I got to sleep. It was warm, too, for the first time. Every previous night I had shivered all through it, but last night I was cozy and warm. Hope it keeps up like this. The hand warmer was a God-send on the first nights. I’d hold it in my hands and it would keep them warm and the rising heat would get caught in the hood of my foul-weather suit and keep my ears warm too.
Tuesday, June 8
I was aroused by a loud honk and the sound of engines going. I popped my head out the cabin hatch and there was a submarine beside me, the Tench.
“Do you need any help?” they called.
“No, thanks,” I replied.
Then they rumbled off to the east. I kicked myself later for not asking them to report me to the Coast Guard, but I imagine they did that anyway. I saw them studying me with field glasses and they probably got Tink’s number.
I had a big hot breakfast of stewed beef and potatoes. It is excellent with a little curry powder added. When I got started it was slow sailing for awhile because the wind was very light. However, I noticed that the barometer had gone down a tenth of a point and soon it was clouding up and the breeze freshened. In fact, I waited too long to take down the old genoa and it beat itself to shreds. The cloth was very old and I expected that sooner or later. I hove to with sea anchor for the night. Slept, or dozed, as best I could in the cockpit. Finally daylight returned.
Wednesday, June 9
The wind has been blowing 20-30 knots. I suppose this is a fairly average day on the Atlantic, but those waves look large. Some of them must be 17-18 footers at least. I have been hove to since last night, but I’m beginning to think that maybe Tink should be moving in this. The white caps, after all, are very small. I think I’ll try sailing under just one small jib.
Finally got my nerve up and got going under the small jib. Found all my fears were unfounded and it was such slow going under jib alone that I finally put up the mains’l, too.
We raced along at an exhilarating pace, surfing down the forward faces of the waves. It was dangerous though. I almost got conked on the head a couple of times by the boom lashing around. Did get a rope burn on my nose. Hove to early, got hot supper of turkey loaf, peas and carrots and fruitcake. Everything snugged down pretty well. But it looks like a thunderstorm blowing up.
It wasn’t a storm, after all.
Thursday, June 10
Got a pretty early start. It’s blowing pretty hard so I’m using Dacron genoa only. Even so I’m making very good time.
It was a run all day with a lot of work at the tiller. Had to be alert the whole time. [Course] was about 75 degrees.
I’ve been trying to get pictures of a most interesting bird. It’s a little smaller than a robin, brownish gray to black, with a white spot at the base of its tail. What makes it interesting is that it keeps skiing or walking on the water (and I don’t think it has webbed feet). It seems to hop along the surface of the water. I’ve never seen it resting on the water or anywhere else. It must be tireless flier. I must look it up in the bird book.
I think I covered a lot miles today. After dusk I noticed the barometer was down a notch and, sure enough, it began to blow. Wow! What a night. I hope I don’t have to go through any more like that, but I probably will. It was cold, too, as the wind had shifted from west to north.
Friday, June 11
Got some sunshine today for first time in three days. But I’m still hove to. Too much wind to sail. So I’m writing and doing chores.
The wind died down a little about 12:30 local time and I got sailing. It was a glorious sunny day. And I was warm enough for a change. Had wonderful sailing all day, most of it in the Gulf Stream, which is really warm compared to the water farther east and north. The Stream is filled with strings of globular weeds, that are interesting to watch. Saw my first flying fish. Then, after dark, it was marvelous moonlight sailing, with the moon almost full.
At about 10 I hove to for some sleep. Saw a big lit-up cruise ship rumble by later.
Saturday, June 12
I awoke this morning to find a huge (or so it seemed) Canadian warship (a cruiser I believe) towering over me. It eased up fairly close and a man with a loud hailer inquired as to how I was.
I said “Everything’s AOK here. But I’d appreciate a line on my position.”
He gave me the position: N40º17′- W63º07′. He also asked about where I was from and Tinkerbelle’s name. I asked him to report me to the Coast Guard in Boston and he said he would. I took movies, etc. and as I looked around I noticed there were three other warships visible and some planes flying about. It looked as though I might have broken in on some maneuvers. Finally, all the ships moved off to the north.
The first thing the man on the cruiser said when I popped my head out of the hatch was “Good morning,” in a tone which implied that I should consider it the most natural thing in the world to be awakened by a cruiser of the Canadian navy. The Canadians were genteel. There was no loud honking to arouse me, as with the American sub Tench.
After a hasty breakfast, a shave, etc., I got going on a course of 90 degrees magnetic, sailing wing and wing with the main and Dacron genoa. It was a wonderful day for sailing, but in mid-afternoon I was becalmed for a couple of hours. I took the opportunity to dry out some clothes and sails, etc., and rest a bit.
In the late afternoon I took a position sight, the first really good one of the voyage. Crossed with my DR course it put me almost l-1/2 degrees of longitude on my way east, to between 61º and 62ºW. If I can keep on making l-1/2 degrees a day it won’t be too bad, but right now I’m behind schedule. It was a beautiful, easygoing sail in the moonlight that night. Turned in about midnight.
Sunday, June 13
Woke at dawn to find a pretty good breeze blowing and Tinkerbelle drifting northward toward the shipping lanes. I’ll have to watch out for ships. I hope this’ll calm down in a bit so I can get going.
It’s really not blowing so awfully hard, but it would be tricky sailing. And it’s so nice to be here in Tink’s snug cabin out of the reach of the wind. I don’t see how Lindemann, Barnhard and the others managed without a cabin to retreat to now and then. Of course, if there is any danger of a capsize I have to keep out of the cabin.
I’ve rearranged my supplies, etc. so Tink and I think things will be better now. I was getting fed up with having to root through everything to find what I was after.
It kept blowing — in fact it blew a gale (36-40 m.p.h.) part of the time so I hung onto the sea anchor and kept an eye peeled for ships. Didn’t see any ships though. About noon the wind backed a little the east from the south, where it had been. Then about 1 hour later it eased off to a fine breeze for sailing and the waves smoothed out to an easy swell.
I got something to act quickly and then started off again on a course of 105 degrees magnetic. It was wonderful to be sailing again and it was good sailing too. I decided to keep going all night to make up for lost time. I made very good time (6-7 knots part of the time). But I guess about 2 a.m. local time the breeze became too strong again and I had to return to the sea anchor.