Day 213: The great outdoors

Egret admires the wildlife while debating the merits of speed vs distance

Position: Bahia Cambaceras , Argentina

Scott and Mary Flanders left Gibraltar on 16 September, and we’ll be following their journey every step of the way, thanks to this unique online “blog”. For a complete listing of their diary entries, click here .

Well, mi amigos, it’s another beautiful day in The Life. Early this morning before breakfast there was a fox on patrol along the beach. Along the same shore were two kinds of ducks, a few gulls, and a heron. At this very moment there is a kingfisher sitting on the bow rail helping with this update. Off the starboard side there is a small fur seal fishing. There is not a ripple in the water. Since the snow the other day the leaves have accelerated in their change of colours. Beautiful. Whoops, now a trio of upland geese have landed on the shore directly in front of the bow. Since we have killed the pot of coffee my Canadian cruising buddy aboard for the past few days (while my sweetie is in the States), has just arrived with a cuppa tea. Ho hum.

Photo number one is a picture of Mallard, a 1976 aft cockpit Westsail 42. The owners are Americans from Georgia enjoying The Life as well. They came down to this part of the world from the Galapagos. We were both anchored together in Bahia Relegada the past few days. We hiked in the morning (photo two) then went to Estancia Harberton for lunch. Lottsa fun. Later we were invited to Mallard for dinner. As the evening progressed and vino flowed the chatter between our Canook friend (ultralight racing sailboat) and the Mallards (heavy, slow with a bottom similar to Egret) got somewhat amusing. As the barbs were hurled the Canook hit the wall. He simply didn’t believe that Mallard didn’t pound to weather (sailing upwind and into the waves). Egret has NEVER pounded.

Most long-term enthusiasts of long-distance boating, whether power or sail, know the pluses and minuses of different designs. None are wrong, just different. In powerboats you have flat bottom, relative light weight boats being driven by huge horsepower for speed on day trips. The second group is semi displacement powerboats with somewhat less horsepower, with less speed, for coastal cruising. The third group is full displacement, low horsepower long distance boats with greatly reduced speed. The BIG difference is this last group of boats are COMFORTABLE and can go wherever they wish.

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Sailboats today have essentially (greatly simplified) two groups. Canoe (shallow) bottom, fin keel, spade rudder, lightweight and fast. The opposite are heavy, slow and COMFORTABLE. For a few extra knots the canoe bottom boats are fun to sail in the right conditions but in other conditions they are head bangers. The heavy, fat, full keel boats are always slow but as comfortable as a sailboat can be. In both you are still living in The Cave (belowdecks).

As usual the arguments ended in a classic draw because both consciously chose what makes them happy which is always the bottom line. We had to throw in our two centavos worth defending ‘heavy and slow’ to support our decision to buy Egret (si, si, we would like to have 2 more knots as well but not at the price of comfort). It was a fun evening.

It’s all about fun. This is The Life.



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