I am not sure if I should be posting
a new challenge yet as we don't have a formal position on the answers to part 2 of DM's challenge; but not knowing the right thing to do as never stopped me in the past, so here goes - apologies in advance if I am out of line
The background: Its summer (January) and a 30 ft yacht with total crew on three has made its first coastal cruise
to a tropical cay (with lagoon) about 250 nm north of Brisbane
. After 10 days of soaking up the pleasures of living aboard
anchored in the lagoon
, its time to return home.
The crew: Skipper
- first coastal cruise
of more than 2 nights at sea; first mate, first coastal cruise but a lifetime of racing
dinghies and son of a commerical fisherman, lastly someone who has never been on any boat in her life before.
Navigation: pre GPS
days, we are navigating by DR, coastal bearings, chart, compass, log, sounder and eyeball.
The situation: Its the second night of the return trip, the barrier reef has been cleared and the boat is about 15 to 20 miles off shore in deep water
(>100 fathoms), running south rolling gently before a 10 to 12 kt northerly breeze. The distant loom of a lighthouse had been passed abeam confirming the position. It is a new moon and the sailing is very pleasant with the stars shinning brightly. The sails
are wing and wing with a preventer on the main and the genny poled out. The are no dangers ahead and the next lighthouse should be picked up before dawn. The course is taking the boat ever so slighly further off shore.
The newbie crew member
has proved to be a reasonable sailor and quick to learn so the skipper
decides to give her a solo night watch.
The instructions are: Hand steer to the wind
direction, not the compass; Keep a sharp eye out for lights of shipping
(none seeen so far); Wake the skipper if any of the following occurs - If you get tired, if the average heading changes by more than 15 degrees for more than 10 minutes; you see any shipping
; if you feel unsure about ANYTHING or uncomfortable about anything and especially if ANYTHING changes.
The skipper and mate turn in about 10 pm. About 3 hours later, the crew on watch wakes the skipper with the message " Sorry but although there is nothing wrong, the boat wont sail properly". The skipper doesn't engage in any further conversation but is on deck
in a flash. He has a quick look around and can't see anything except the boat slowly drifting around in a calm on an low oilyswell.
What would you do next and why?
There may be two answers.
1. What I did.
2. Perhaps something else I never thought off. I would be happy to learn how to do it better even if its 25 years later.