Beaufort to the BVI

Graham Shaw
Thu 5 Nov 2009 17:36
27:20.4N 67:24.7W

We set off from Beaufort, North Carolina on Saturday afternoon with the hope
of getting east across the
Gulf Stream, which runs up the side of the States, as quickly as possible
head south. The forecast was indicating this would be possible. Just
before we left we realised we had messed up our email
system, which is a problem, not that we are sad people and cannot live with
out our e mail, the email system allows us to down load grib files (weather
info) which is obvoiusly important to have on a passage. Anyway our
computer whizz came to the resucue, Gareth, yes we still annoy him even when
he is not on the boat to fix this little issue.

I am always a little apprehensive the first night out, getting into the
sailing mode, watches, etc etc, but I have to say normally I am pleasantly
surprised how easy it is getting back into sailing overnight , but not this
Firstly the weather forecasting was pants, the forecast was 10 -15 knots
filling in from the north after midnight - perfect for us. Ah but not to
be, we
were close hauled, no wind from the north as promised by Mr forecaster, just
28 knots from the south east, the sea was very confused and big swell. For
all those who do not understand, it was crap, sorry no other word for it.
Lots of squalls which is ok just the sea state was the worst, as soon as you
got some speed up, which you can imagine was quite easy, you were brought to
a halt with a big wave or two, not all bad though, the moon was out so you
could see when to duck when a wave came over you.

Bad night for sleep of course, except Lucas, who can sleep though anything.
In fact the more noise the better I think, we did our 3 hrs watches, apart
from Gray who I woke up early to put yet another reef in.

Next day hoping for a improvement, had a personal phoned-in weather forecast
from our friend on Seawalk - bless them as the email was still not quite
working, and again forecast for wind coming from the north, so we lived in
hope - ah
not to be, again hard on the wind the sea a little more settled but still
swell - it was a good thing we need some east in our trip at this rate we
will be heading for Bermuda. Also, to add to the problems, the Auto pilot
bracket sheared, the worst thing was we were hand steering most of the time
as the sea state made it easier to hand steer around the big waves. Another
probelm was Gray was not feeling his best, in fact he was sick which
apparently has not happened since 1993, when he was on the round Britian
with Gareth. So auto pilot mending had to wait as he did not trust cheif
cook and bottle washer's drilling skills.

I bought a very expencive sea sick watch for him to help with feeling
better, but in only works if you are
perfectly still which is kind of hard in 28 knots of wind and a big swell,
good thing he is fine steering or laying down asleep. He is still
useful, the only trouble is I am cook, cleaner, baby sitter and support
crew, it a
good thing I not sick - only becasue I take seasick tablets that seem to
work for me, only problem with the latest carton is they have a added
quality of being hallucinogenic. Hold the magic mushrooms, in the States
you can legally buy narcotics across the counter.

Folllowing day it was getting better, but Mr forecaster still way off, I
to have words with him. Spoke on the radio to two other boats both going to
the Bahamas.
One a Nicholson 55 and the other an Alantic 51 (catamaran), and both
confirmed how bad
the forecasting was. Mentioned to Gray we were so close to Bermuda why not
pop there to see Yves and Dominic (it was about 250 miles) Captain said no
so onward we went. That night very freaky weather, from 3 knots to 24 in
less than 4 seconds - I was impressed, followed by two 360 spins in the
thing I've got an instrument to tell me which way to go as I would have
completely confused - I know it doesn't take much. We are in the Bermuda
triangle - is it normally like this??? And just in case you think I am
hallucinating I have stop taking my magic mushroom seasick pills now.

Night watches tend to run from 8pm to 8am, being that lucas is usually in
bed by
8 and I take the first shift for three hours. Normally while on watch
people do all sort of things , watch videos, read books, etc etc. On our
we usually steer and watch the black clouds descend on you, and worry if you
have too much sail up. Using our radar you can see a squall coming , apart
from normally you can see it visually if the moon is out, but at least you
measure how big it is on the radar. The only thing you can never see how
wind there is under it, so it is always pot luck. Some have nothing some
everything. I do worry about squalls as you just do not know what your are
going to get, plus once you are in one and heavy rain is with it you cannot
see anything. I always worry there is another boat in the middle of it
doing the same as us. It did not help being told the follow story by a
Spanish boat we met in New York. The boat is the same as ours just
bigger, they hit a fishing vessel in a squall, not sure whether the fishing
vessel were aware at the time they hit another boat, but they did not stop,
the Spanish boat lost their mast and rigging, as it came down it must have
caught the fishing vessel, as it continued on they realised the boat
suddenly had started taking on water and sinking. They put out a mayday
and the Spaniards boat went to the rescue. So in fact they resuced the
boat they were in collision with!

The thing about night watches is that you have a lot of time to think when
not sail adjusting sails looking at squal, so you tend to think a lot about
all sorts of things. Which I am still not sure is a good thing or bad,
because you can come up with some great ideas. Generally most of the time
you are too busy with the weather, but on the odd occasion like this evening
there is no wind we are motoring the sea is dead calm, so you end up writing
long blogs to bore you guys to death.

The wind generator has come into her own on this passage - she is doing
really well at
powering all the toys on board with out the assistance of the engine which
is great as I thought at one stage we would be hand steering all the way
again. This is ideal as we can use the auto pilot in the day when one of us
needs to catch up with sleep and the other can look after Lucas and
keep the boat running .

I think it is Wednesday now. Sea state and weather a little more settled or
did I speak too soon, Mr forecast was giving at the 10 knot so you can
how surprised when we had 35 knots all of sudden, we had full sail up, some
very fast reefing going on, after dumping the main and letting the genoa
go -
that boy can move when he wants to. So I have decided to fire Mr
and the forecast I have requested for this after noon is 10 to 15 knot from
the north. Not bad it did have a north direction and a little above 15
knots but very nicely flying along. I think I should put in more request
for weather.

Well we are more than half way there having not seen a soul all day today,
which is strange as I thought the Carribean1500 big boats would be catching
us up now as they left the following morning after us, or were they delayed?
This is a rally which runs from Norfolk, Virginia to the BVI.

It looks like we will be motoring for a while yet, we did take on more fuel
as we thought this might happen, too much wind to not enough wind - we are
just so picky.

Just passed 9000 miles nautical miles on the boat since we have started.