The Offshore Voyaging Reference Site

Puke Therapy

We are in the third year of a one year refit and up until two weeks ago it was getting to me—big time. As far as I was concerned, all marine equipment was junk and almost everyone in the marine business was a crook. Our boat seemed to be a collection of half finished projects and disappointing new gear; albeit with a few shining exceptions.

Last week a buddy from Bermuda and I (Phyllis drove our truck) sailed across the Gulf of Maine, around Cape Sable and on to Mahone Bay in Nova Scotia. For the first part of the trip the weather was a bit challenging but not really bad: a weak front, some thunder storms that we managed to avoid, and thick fog. The wind never got over 30 knots and was in the 20 to 25 knot range for most of the trip.

However, the Gulf of Maine is seriously tidal (due to the influence of the world record tides in the Bay of Fundy) and the resulting currents mixed with the wind greeted us with a confused sea as soon we cleared Penobscot Bay. Within three hours I had to change all my clothes, due to the biggest and most unexpected ducking I have taken from a wave since I gave up ocean racing, and we were both seriously and extravagantly sea sick.

I’m not talking a little green here. I’m talking a full on barf-fest with multiple trips to the rail, sometimes with a full mouth as we struggled not to blow lunch below or into the cockpit. I won the truly gross award, despite my buddy’s best efforts to top me, by liberally spraying the dodger as I struggled at the mast to crank in a reef.

Now, after the trip, I look around Morgan’s Cloud and see a boat that is faster, easier to sail, more comfortable and safer than she was before the refit. Quite simply she is an even better boat than she has ever been. Sure there are many things left to do but they are mostly trivial, and now I can see that.

Would I have experienced this change in attitude if we had had an easy broad reach on a moonlit night? I suspect not. I’m not sure why that is. Maybe it’s just that it feels so good when you stop puking. Or maybe it’s because there comes a time in a refit when you just have to get out there and bang around a bit to regain your perspective.

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