I have to say that I am not particularly a fan of passage making. Perhaps if Brenda was with me, I’d be happier to be offshore for days at a time and after more than a decade of long north and south runs, I can’t say that I look forward to yet another 1,500 run south to Antigua in November.
However, I do like the “being there” part of things and so look forward to reconnecting with friends, both in the Salty Dawg Rally and in Antigua, our destination.
When on passage, we keep watch 24/7, with someone always on deck. With three of us and the autopilot humming away, I have found that to be a good number of crew. However, if we were to have a failure of the electric autopilot, that would surely put a strain on everyone.
With that in mind, I also have a mechanical wind vane, which I will admit that I have not used much as the Raymarine steering unit is just so easy to set and manage.
I always let the crew decide how they want to handle the watch schedule and the plan generally means that during the day it’s loose but there is always someone on deck. Beginning at 20:00 hrs, the first formal watch begins and runs for 3-4 hours depending on crew preferences. Once we settle on the length of the watches, that is the plan for the duration of the run.
Personally, I prefer a 4 hour watch and always choose the 04:00 to 08:00. I think that this watch is sometimes referred to as the “dog watch”. Most hate it but as I am generally up off and on earlier in the night and yet can sleep pretty well for a few hours after midnight, getting up at 03:00 or 04:00 to begin watch works well for me.
I particularly enjoy watching the stars and then the eastern sky as it begins to brighten for sunrise. It is quite common for me to race below to get my camera to record the changing sky as the sun begins to peak over the horizon.
Getting that perfect shot is the goal but even more important is that I am a member of a very unique group, the Cloud Appreciation Society, out of the UK, a group that celebrates clouds. The society sends out a “cloud-a-day” every day to all it’s members, and there are tens of thousands of members.
Any member can submit a cloud image and hope that theirs will be chosen to be shared. I have been “all about that” and have submitted many photos over the several years that I have been a member. I don’t keep an exact count of those chosen by them from my submissions but it’s something like 5 or 6 with the most recent published last week.
While being chosen is exciting enough, it’s even better to see what they have to say about my photo.
So, on passage, I sometimes get a particularly memorable shot like this one when I was on passage in May as we made our way from St Thomas to Essex CT and home and submitted it for consideration.
I was thrilled when I heard that they had chosen it to be one of their “cloud a day”. The message that came into my mailbox simply stated “Your Cloud-a-Day has been scheduled!” YAHOO!
Here it is…And, here is what the Cloud Appreciation Society had to say about “my cloud”.
“While sailing in his sloop, Pandora, from Saint Thomas in the US Virgin Islands to his home in Connecticut, Bob Osborn (Member 54,749) admired an Altocumulus at sunrise near the island of Bermuda. This was the stratiformis species of Altocumulus, which is when the cloud layer extends across the majority of the sky. Bob said it was a beautiful day at sea, homeward bound after a winter aboard in the Caribbean.”
So, there you have it, seeing a perfect sunrise at sea is where it’s at. And, getting one of my photos published by those who share my love of clouds makes those long passages worth it.
Now all I have to do is to find another great shot. I can do that, but it’s up to the editors of the Cloud Appreciation Society to decide.
As Brenda likes to say, “Bob and the dog, ever hopeful!”
Yup, that’s me. I’m on it…