Sami Greenbury
Technology, Teaching & Travel

The Engine Goes Off

The strangest thing about being on a boat isn’t, as you might thing, the wobbling about 24/7.

It’s the constantly changing direction of gravity. Pouring water from pan to tea cup becomes a physics experiment:

Prediction: Steaming hot tea.
Method: Lift pan, pour water.
Outcome: Half a cup of tea and wet feet.

Imagine, for a moment (or go try it if you fancy) standing in front of the bathroom sink brushing your teeth. The time comes to spit. Now lean back so your gloop would land neatly in your belly button and release. Watch as the white foamy gloop flies away from you, landing directly in the plug hole. It’s the closest thing you can get to zero gravity at sea level.

Of course this takes some practice, and many misses and wipe-ups before you can claim the title of 45° Spitting Master.

This sideways lean has been made possible by the final switch off of our engine after 300 miles and 5 days of motoring into the wind, which gives you violent forward-backward rocking. Now we’re sailing we have the far more consistent sideways roll and, usually, a gentle forward-backward motion.

270 Miles to go to Portobelo we’ve decided against stopping in La Provincia even though the gas is low and the cabbage mouldy.

The other night we ran the engine as well as the sails to out run some pirates who had started following us. But that’s a fairly uneventful (thankfully) story for a pub and a pint.

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