Part 3. Evening Star We sailed out into the Atlantic under sunny skies, watching the water change from the aquamarine of Bermuda’s coastline to a deep, rich blue. A strong wind blew out of the southwest (as several of you pointed out), and in the first two days we covered 352.5 of our 635-nautical-mile trip, a record 48-hour distance for Restive.
Ocean sailing consists of long periods of boredom, accompanied by discomfort and interspersed with moments of terror, all taking place in a tiny capsule bobbing on an endless sea. There are those who love it – the hoisting and lowering of sails to adjust to changing winds, charting a course in an ocean without markers, scanning the skies for approaching storms and, my favorite, hanging out with friends, swapping stories.
For me, night was a special time – the sky filled with millions of distant lights as we sailed beneath the Big Dipper, the North Star directly above our mast. It was around the time of the Jupiter-Venus conjunction, when the tiny evening star seems to pull the fiery torch of Jupiter across the night sky.
After the first night we never saw another boat. There was nothing in any direction but water, all the way to the horizon. I thought of the prayer that reminds us that “a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight.”
It’s amazing to be at once so cut off from the world and so connected to the universe, “alone,” as the ancient mariner said “on a wide, wide sea.”