Announcements
  • A Call to AntarcticaOn March 10, 2009 at 13:43:19 French time, Skipper Rich Wilson and Great American III crossed the finish line at Les Sables d'Olonne. Race time: 121 days, 41 minutes and 19 seconds
  • Thank you for all of your kind notes, and for joining us on another educational adventure at sitesALIVE!

 


Rime of the Ancient Mariner

  • Jan
    03

    0848 utc 51/04S 165/19E 9kts, staysail, 3 reefs, awaiting frontal passage. Distance covered in last 24 hours: 217.9 nautical miles.

    Last night, on the other gybe, heading ESE, trying to get far enough to gybe and head at a good angle to the New Zealand ice gate, we got to 52/30S, and were going farther. In that situation, one is always hoping for a small windshift to legitimize a gybe, so we could get out of there. It's too far south, too cold, too risky, etc. Then I thought of something else, look at not just the great circle route to the ice gate, but the rhumb line, usually ignored because its longer, but I did the calculation, the angle was 12 degrees in our favor for a gybe, and the distance would be less than 1% more, 8 miles over 1500. So I'd give it a little more before gybing, got  2 naps in, then at 0300 a 44 knot squall came through, that did it, we're out of here, rolled the staysail, gybed the mainsail and headed NE. A hailstorm came through to say goodbye.

    Through the course of the day, we were to the north of the route, but an anticipated passage of a front would help bring us down to course. Yet we had an obstacle in our way, Auckland Islands, the group where Marc Guillemot stopped with Safran for repairs. I didn't want to go north of the islands, because I didn't think we'd get past before the front arrived, and that would give us a lee shore. So we inched downwind deep on the angle, not so terribly fast, and its a fault I have in sailing, to try to go deep rather than always just going fast.

    Anway, finally, it looks as though we may get enough of an angle change to get around the south of the islands, Adams Island, without gybing. We'll see. But looking at the chart, it reminds me of our chapter in the school program called Invisible Places, all those places we go past where we'd like to stop. The chart shows South Cape, Cape Thomson, Fly Harbour, The Dome (inland at 639 meter altitude), and multiple albatross symbols, is it a rookery? Between Adams Island and Auckland Island, the main island, Coleridge Bay. Could this be connected to Samuel Taylor Coleridge who wrote The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, the famous poem about the albatross:

    There was an ancient mariner
    Who stoppeth one of three
    By thy long grey beard
    And glittering eye
    Now wherefore stoppest thou me?
    The bridegroom's door is opened wide
    And I am next of kin
    The feast is set
    The guests are met
    Mayest hear the merry din...
    He holds him with his skinny hand
    "There was a ship", quoth he,
    "Hold off, unhand me greybeard loon"
    Eftsoons his hand dropped he
    He holds him with his glittering eye,
    The wedding guest stood still
    And listens like a three years child
    The mariner hath his will...
    and on for 600 more lines that I memorized many years ago. 

    Read the whole poem by Coleridge [PDF download]

    Not sure if we'll see the island or not, will report tomorrow. Belay that, Land Ho! Just sighted Adams Island to port, 10nm off.

    Rich