Capibara - Salty Dawg rally, SSB chats, 200 miles from Bermuda
After one week at sea, we still have nearly 200 nautical miles left to Bermuda. At the moment it looks like we'll arrive in Bermuda Saturday – just in time for the Champions League Final (If they care about that in Bermuda).
The previous week we haven't had a lot of wind, and with only 100 litres of diesel (our tank capacity), we've had to economize a bit with the motor sailing. However, the weak winds have made our trip slow but very comfortable, and I do prefer that to fewer but less comfortable days at sea. It looks like we’ll hit a stronger low pressure in the last 150 nm, though, so the last one and a half day will probably be less comfortable.
Debut on the SSB
In the past week I've had my debut on the SSB radio. When I started sailing with Henrik, I was very reluctant to speak on the VHF radio, but I have more or less overcome that by now. Operating he SSB radio on the other hand I have left entirely to Henrik. Every morning at 7.30 the Salty Dawg Rally have a round-call, but since Henrik’s night watch ends at 7.00, he was already asleep the first morning out. Because I didn't want to disappoint Linda, who together with her husband Bill is the founder and organizer of the Salty Dawg Rally, I had to turn on the radio myself, find the channel, find out our position, and figure out the wind speed and wind direction. The first day I messed it up a bit, but since then I have improved.
When we now on the daily round call get to Capibara (which amongst the Americans are pronounced capib(aa)r(a) in stead of capib(ah)r(ah)), I answer: “Good morning Linda! Capibara’s position is XX XX north, XX XX west. The wind speed is X knots coming from XXX.” Yesterday at the evening round call I even added “Did you copy?” and ended the following chat with a “Capibara clear”. I’m still reluctant to use the (super cool) phrase “roger”. The others on the SSB net say “roger roger” and “roger that” all the time, but I think I lack a bit SSB-experience to use it.
I’m surprised how much fun I think it is communicating on the SSB radio. I consider myself a pretty modern person, who can’t live without my iPhone, so talking on the SSB seems quite old fashioned - especially now when we can send and receive e-mails through our Iridium phone while at sea. Never the less, I'm now thinking about getting myself a HAM license. And when I get it, I’ll definitely use “roger” all the time and add my calling sign every time I say Capibara: “This is Capibara, Oscar-Delta-Bravo, Four-Zero-Five, signing off.”
Signe Stoor: Freelance Journalist and friend of Boatshed