The universe and the yankee 3

Where are we? Where ARE we going? Why are we all here? These were the kind of questions I was pondering just yesterday morning. ‘When will we get to Qingdao’ did not even seem worth asking.
We had seen glimpses of stars through ragged hoes in the clouds the night before last – something to celebrate, even though it only lasted 10 minutes. We woke up yesterday to find ourselves on a huge sea of tumbling grey streaked with white, under a vast leaden sky, a world empty of ships, fishing pots, even the kelp that we’d been dodging the day before. And we seemed to be heading ever further east. It was almost as if we were a new ‘Dawn Treader’, heading endlessly on towards the edge of the world, where the water eventually gets shallow, sweet, and warm…
But from what I remember of the first Vayage of the Dawn Treader, Narnia is firmly located in the sunny trade winds, and we certainly weren’t experiencing those.
Then things started to change – small patches of sun turned the grey to molten silver, and glanced on us, lighting everything up for as much as a minute at a time before moving on. ANd then the wind started to head us, and sure enough, Eric popped up and suggested the tack we’d all been waiting for – at last we’d be heading roughly towards our destination. But it seems we just aren’t getting any lucky breaks this race. As we tacked, we noticed a hole in th yankee 3 – the clew section was begginning to tear away from the rest of the sail, and trying to tighten the sheet after the tack was clearly making it worse. We turned downwind to take all the pressure off the sail, and dropped it as quickly as we could. Andever since then, two people have been sewing the yankee three continually, through each watch – I make that 20 hours or 40 man hours so far. It’s awkward and backbreaking work, too.
On the plus side, the sun came out in the afternoon, the wind lightened to yankee 2 trritory, and there were stars all last night. I didn’t actually see tem as I have been sewing through all my watches. It’s cold, but sunshine, however hazy, definitely helps.

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