“So, Chris, I was thinking.” - pausing to gather courage, lost somewhere at sea. “Rather than raising the kite at 6am, we could wait until 8am when the main watch starts. That way, we can run a 2-person watch all night, and everyone gets 2 more hours of sleep.” My voice rising inversely to the descending moon.
“Ok.” He responded with his uncharacteristic brevity.
“Ok?” Groggy from my lack of sleep, mild boredom, and whatever disorienting factors were present at 4am. I needed certainty.
“Ok.” For once, his command was like an alpine flower on an otherwise scorched mountainside.
My life jacket, flannel and beanie were shed before I was halfway down the hatch, to Alejandro’s amusement and Chris’ instant regret.
And now, as the blazing high-noon sun rises in the sky like my 4-full hours of sleep-fueled spirits, I am ready to tackle…Sunday? What day is this?
We have turned the corner, so to speak, now heading directly west for our destination. A mere 2,000 miles away, Antigua should be reached within 10 days. The wind is dancing between 10 and 15 knots, which puts our boat speed between 8-10, a blazing velocity by sailing standards. We have put 1,000 miles behind our stern as of three hours ago - the first third of our trip accomplished in 6 days. My wagered guess of a 15-day crossing does not look promising.
Given that on watch we hand steer for 30 minutes, break for 90 and then repeat, each of the 8 crew will ultimately acquire 45 hours of helm time before the Caribbean. It should be noted that the mates and captain do not helm, but merely sit idle, like task masters sipping their iced tea (where are they getting iced cubes?) and barking orders. Thankfully, the rebukes are almost exclusively reserved for Jeff. During his 30 minutes of helming, unfortunately, all of us are in a state of abject terror. I’m convinced all of my bad dreams of careening off a highway, or leaping from a building, are triggered by his erratic steering and complete ignorance of wind direction, compass heading, or social graces. If only someone would stop rousing him from his incessant watch naps below, our chances of survival would escalate exponentially.
Hold for now - Chris just reminded me that I’m late for my watch. Where is that scapegoat, Jeff anyways?
Today, we’re going to cover time zones. Until yesterday, I thought our system of time was somehow determined in the library of some English nobleman, dividing up the world like the British did their foreign subjects. What Chris clarified for all of us was the mathematical and geographic explanation for why my watch would be an extra 30 minutes, and Jeff’s nap system elongated. I need to find that damn comments box he’s obviously hidden in the bilge.
The earth can be divided into 360 degrees. Aside from you geographic atheists, we can agree on that, right? Divided by 24 hours, you come up with 15 degrees covered per hour as the earth spins. Those lines of longitude, from north to south or vice versa, depending on which direction your toilet flushes, each determine a time zone. Each degree of longitude is 60 miles from the next, so 15 degrees equates to 900 nautical miles - the distance between each zone.
The “0” time zone, from which all other time zones are calculated, of course runs through that spoiled English barron’s library aforementioned. He cleverly established a system whereby the world literally revolved around him. Historically known as Greenwich Mean Time, the French, during a recent dispute over the proper naming of fried potatoes, negotiated to the geographically-neutral acronym of UTC or United Time Coordinates. They’ll never forgive Nelson for relocating Napolean to the desolate island of Elba. And so, children, we have a construct for time.
Why do I bring this up, other than to kill the very subject of our discussion? We passed our first time zone yesterday, and it’s thrown the boat into absolute disarray.
“Chris, before this time zone changed, we were UTC -1 or an hour ahead. You are now telling us that having traversed 900 miles west, away from the sun, we are somehow going back in time to UTC +1, I asked with mistrusting curiosity.
“That’s correct” He elaborated.
“But that doesn’t make any sense!” I expressed with mild frustration.
“Well, you have to account for daylight savings time” he explained with absolute indifference.
Confused, I set my watch back an hour. I’m returning to my old system of obedient reliance on an arrogant English system rather than cross sections of planet earth adjusted for German interpretation.
We're the Zimmerman Family!
Home Base | Denver, CO
A family of six that
LOVES to sail !
Follow our crew (Royce, Tara, Avery, Charley, Nora & Ruby)
as we blog our sailing adventures
Set Sail 4.22.23 | Las Palmas - Across the Atlantic - Island of Antigua
Set Sail 9.22.21 | Sweden - Germany -
Set Sail 7.18.19 | Newport, RI -
Martha's Vineyard, MA -
Nantucket, MA -
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