This voyage, in addition to coinciding with the Transpac, also coincides with a full moon, which makes tonight's 0200-to-0500 watch a lovely moment on the planet. With the breeze coming evermore aft, Sheri spends more time coaching us through the narrower steering window. Normally I'm content to steer down a moonbeam as the apparent wind veers and backs around me. But Sheri challenges us to steer according to several inputs: true wind, apparent wind, compass course, spinnaker leech--and after all that, sure, a moonbeam.
Our conversations in the middle of the night, as we huddle in the cockpit awaiting our hitch at the helm, are some of the best. Sheri tells us about trips past and future through South America and about the Spanish-language courses she's taken to prepare for the next trip. On deck with us is Michael Pomerantsev, a Ukranian-born Russian who knows a thing or two about hiccups in translating. His voice is a cross between Peter Lorre and Boris Badinov from The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, but he proves in the end to be a keen wit and a most amusing watchmate. He tells a story about going to France and knowing just a little French but carrying a dictionary around with him wherever he goes. Friends have recently had a baby, so he goes into a store to find a present. He spends a while looking around, stumped, for a pacifier. A woman approaches him to ask if he needs any help. He stumbles over what to say, gets out his dictionary, and says, "Yes. Please can you show me your nipples?"