When something breaks on a cruising sailboat, it’s usually at night, in the rain, when the boat is sloshing around in frisky swells. At least that’s what happened last night, around 1 AM, when I was on watch.

I am on night watch each night from midnight to 5 AM, checking for boats and storms, and adjusting sails. But mostly I nap or sit in the salon playing Sudoku or watching Gossip Girl. I set a timer and check on the boat every 30 minutes, which is all that is needed.

I was concentrating on a hard game of Sudoku when I heard our free flying headsail suddenly erupt with loud, flapping, unhappy sounds. As I headed outside to take a look, Brian bolted out of bed on his own, his ears attuned to the sail and its sounds of distress. Our warm, sleepy bodies were hit with a wall of rain as we stepped outside into the dark.

It was a warm tropical rain so we didn’t even bother with rain gear. Brian went forward and tried hauling the sail in using the lines attached to it, but it was powered up and hard to control. So he went up to the bow and grabbed the huge white sail with his hands as I illuminated him with a spotlight. He pulled it piece by piece around the forestay, and then piled it into a bundle at his feet, taking its power away. Then I yanked it into the cockpit and secured it with a line. Problem solved.

How did this happen? We had a pole, visible in the first photo, which propped the sail out next to the boat. This aluminum pole snapped in half. Things like this happen when you sail your boat across an ocean. Weak links are revealed. We don’t feel this will impact us too much, since we’re nearing the end of the downwind tradewinds portion of our trip and this pole is for downwind sailing.

I didn’t get much sleep after that. Wow, am I sleepy today.


Lisa Hackett

About the Author

Hi, I’m Lisa. I’m a tall, blonde superhero and I live in a van. I do it all. I rappel big waterfalls, drive from Idaho to Alaska solo, live and work in a van in the wilderness and dodge encounters with wolves and bears. Seriously. More

3 Responses to Notes From Night Watch

  1. Azulite Rondeau says:

    Wow…! Feelin’ for ya! Hang in there!! Big hug!
    Azulite

  2. Erin says:

    I’m glad you guys will be okay without that pole. Also, I love that you are watching Gossip Girl… Are you totally in love with Chuck Bass?

    • Lisa Hackett Lisa Hackett says:

      I think I like Nate the best! I’m glad I’m not the only one my age who watches that series. It’s great entertainment.

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About the Author

Hi, I’m Lisa. I’m a tall, blonde superhero and I live in a van and on a sailboat with my superhero husband, Brian. I do it all. I rappel big waterfalls, scuba dive with sharks, dodge encounters with bears and wolves, and work remotely as a full time computer programmer.
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About the Van

Hi, I’m Vanifest. I’m a big, 4x4, off-the-grid van complete with solar panel for power. I'm a 2000 Dodge Ram Van and Lisa has had me since 2009. Read more about me here.


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