Closing in on Point Barrow

The last days we have pulled up the topsails, done 7 knots, would then start drifting again, getting the topsails down, engine on and wait for the wind again. This time it seems more permanent. This morning before watch hand over at 12:00 hours board time, the topsails were set again. With a heading going North, we gibed after lunch, drifted with two knots, doubted about setting the topsails because the wind seemed to be gone, but when we did set them, we picked up a nice speed and are now heading for Point Barrow with 5,5 knots. Just 60 miles away.. Gibing with the topsails up takes some time. Our topsails (for those who have never sailed the Tecla before) are connected to a boom that needs to be hoisted with a halliart and a sheet and a foot or downhaul connected to the deck to pull it tight. When gibing or tacking we have to lower the topsails, get them to the other side of the deck, gibe the ship and then set the sails again. Or if we have a long tack and a short tack, you might choose to leave the topsails on the ‘wrong’ side for the short bit, as it takes about 20 minutes to get the whole thing done. For now, we hope there is no short tack, we hope this course can be maintained around Barrow, where we will sheet in and make our way more South West then West.

Nome, Alaska, is via our plotted course line still 632 miles away. Every now and then the TTA (time to arrival) is 5 days.. some times it is only 3 days and 8 hours. It feels a bit like the countdown has started. For our expedition crew this seems to mean gather pictures, recalling the memories we have already made and talking about the most interesting topics we can come up with, with a feeling of calm confidence and ease among each other.

The night watch, in the dark, is the best for hard topics, stuff to contemplate under the stars and the Northern Light. Things like happiness, why we have the need to achieve anything, why we travel and the meaning of life.

The weather has been kind on this 11th of september. We have had sunshine in the late morning and beginning of the afternoon. Sam and Gijs, together with Jim and Steven made some new splices for the backstays, sitting out on deck and working in the sun. Right now a big arctic fog clouds seems to want to over take us. But with our 5 knots, we can still keep ahead of it. Although the temperature is dropping again.

Time to start on a nice pork and bean stew to keep us warm into the night.


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