You need bad wind for a good swim
Posted by Tall Ships America on October 4, 2010
By Matthew Maples
0145 – 34.57.4′N x 48.52.0′W.
“You can see how annoying it was for sailors in the past,” said Captain Klaas, over the echoing thrum-thrum of our working engine. Here we all were, at yesterday’s “two’o’clockie” crew meeting on another sunny, windless afternoon. Klaas was referring to our recent trend of hoisting sail to “catch” a wind as elusive a ghost. Lacking engines, the sailors of the past could flounder in the sea for weeks waiting for wind.
The Europa, however, does have engines and with them we are chasing the wind for ourselves. For three days we have been sandwiched between two high pressure systems that greedily keep their wind for themselves. Time and again, a tease of a wind will entice us into throttling back the engines and hoisting sail. And again, a few hours later we will clew up our sails to hang in sagged disappointment as the engines are awoken, still hot from their short naps to push us forward to find our errant wind.