Author: Leah Shopneck
Argo and her Spring 2009 crew have sailed many a miles, but Day 50 was a day for the books. The previous night came to a close with very little wind, the hum of the engine and the striking of the main sail, leaving the main staysail and forward staysail as our only set sails. As the clocks struck 0300 the wind and the rain began to make quite a show. The watch team on deck looked like a walking foul weather gear ad, as the wind blew the rain horizontally across the stern. By 0600 the wind continued to fill the two staysails but the rain was now just a gentle shower. As the engine was throttled back the new on deck watch team longed for Argo's biggest sail, but the darkness of the early morning hours, made it virtually impossible to set. Yet by some magical power the two staysails enabled Argo to sail at 8 knots, under wind power alone. As the sun rose behind the dark storm clouds, she surfed the 8 foot swells enjoying the downwind sailing.
Soon after sunrise and another watch team change, the reefed main was readied and set. Now with three sails, Argo took full advantage of the wind as she sailed the "wrong way" across the Indian Ocean. For hours her crew carefully walked on the windward of the boat, made sure the lunch of pancakes and scrambled eggs remained on the stove, attended SLD and OCE class, and continued to track her course on the charts.
Just before dinner, the wind began to fade and the reef in the main was shook in order to optimize speed. But the excitement did not end there; another Mahi Mahi was expertly caught and filleted for the next day's meal. And as the evening skies parted and the swells calmed, Argo continued to sail east as her crew enjoyed a delicious dinner amidst the glow of the setting sun.