On Class Afloat, sails range from three to eighteen days. However, the time you have throughout the sails depict the feeling of the length. There were times when a crossing flew by as fast as a hummingbird’s wings, and then there were times when a five day sail felt like land was never going to approach, and the thought of quayside seemed so foreign. There are many factors that contribute to how a sail affects me emotionally, and physically.
Considering the drastic temperature change that I have recently been thrown into, I like to believe that I have adapted. I am slowly learning the skill of putting on five layers of clothing, and then finally, to complete the masterpiece, putting on my foully weather gear. I never knew it would take such preparation to do something so simple as to go outside. Clothing is only the physical part of the preparation. I must also prepare myself mentally to open the door and accept that there is going to be a gust of freezing cold wind ready to attack me, as it knows how vulnerable I am in my island skin. All pessimism aside, I always feel proud after completing watch, or enduring colours in the morning. It feels as though I have stood up to Mother Nature and her unbearable conditions. I would be lying if I said that something as elementary as weather didn’t affect the length of my sails, because it truly does. However, now that I am acclimatized, it no longer ruins my days.
Another factor that affects my sailing experiences is food. Yes, food affects me in every way, which is ironic since I am such a small eater. When I have many snacks, and Frank puts together a delightful meal, my day goes by like a speed bolt. On the contrary, when my snack bag consists of only air particles, and the boat meals don’t appeal to my appetite, it feels like the day is torturing me slowly. The finest meal in my opinion are tacos, not to mention chocolate chip cookies on night snack on watch.
This leads me into the next phenomenon that affects my sails: night watch. Depending on the weather, how many sails are up, and the motor, we either have full watches or half watches. When we have full watch for more than two days in a row, my body starts to malfunction, and I become mentally and physically unstable throughout the day, and I am not hyperbolizing. In all fairness, at least I am no longer on four to six a.m watch, which impacted my sleep schedule very negatively. I am now on the first night watch, which is always full watch. However, it leaves me the whole night to myself and I do not have to get woken up out of the deepest of all sleeps anymore. I am proud to say that I am finally in a stable place when it comes to my night watch. I am in a good time period, I have adapted to the cold, and Marilyn (my watch dog) comes to the watch more since it’s earlier so that is also a plus.
The final ingredient in my recipe for a good and quick sail is entertainment. Having movies to watch with friends, art projects, board game nights, and other fun activities to do allows the sail to speed up. When I slump all day in my bunk, hoping someone wakes me up for at least dinner, I feel incompetent and depressed. This puts my thoughts in slow motion, hence decreasing my patience for land. I will admit that so far, I can always find someone to talk to or hang out with in the mess and keep me company, so it never gets too bad.
To wrap it up, factors such as temperature, food, night watches and entertainment affect my sails. I anticipate that I am not alone in being affected by these factors. They affect everyone, and we all get through it together as a microcosm. One month left is simply not enough.
Written by Class Afloat Student Jessica G.