Crossing the Atlantic
Mon 21 Dec 2015 16:26
> Bit of a mixed bag, weather wise, which not only has a huge bearing on average speed and direction but also sleep, getting jobs done or meals prepared. We have lost track on the days as one merges with another. James is embracing every moment whereas I have been struggling with the long nights. It might have something to do with him being used to his night shifts whilst I have always hated to be woken if it's still dark (Princess, moi?) At times there have been huge 3.5/4 meter swells and although they are as tall as houses and long as football pitches it results in quite 'confused' sea conditions so, whilst hot and sunny it is constantly rolly. Towards the end of the first week, I had waves of nausea and felt quite flat and frustrated, whilst trying to concoct something hot to eat, the cooker was swinging like something possessed on the gimble and the veg That I was trying to slice were rolling off the board whilst I have my big German thighs and calves firmly wedged between counter tops trying to stay upright...struggling to put the food into the bowls whilst they slide back and forth on the countertop and then not having the appetite to eat as the rolling motion continues....I did tell James I was loosing my sense of humour. You've gotta laugh though, as I sit in the cockpit and watch the wall of foreboding waves build up behind us until I can't see the horizon, up and down, up and down, thinking 'make it stop' James comes out with..'mesmerising isn't it' with a huge grin on his face....loving it!! On the third night James witnessed a dramatic lighting storm, it was quite a way off from us thank God, I think for any yachtsman that must be one of the last things you want to see when on a wooden boat in the middle of nowhere with a 20meter aluminium mast shouting 'here I am, over here!' I have to confess to having a wobbly chin and tear one night whilst taking over night watch from James at 3am to be told that due to the wind shift we had to pole out the Genoa on the other side, now, that might sound simple enough, but in the pitch black with rolly seas and my jelly legs having to manouevre James' pride and joy, carbon fibre spinnaker pole on the coach roof just about tipped me over the edge.....he was and always is very understanding though! James then spotted a whale surfing just under the surface in the wave behind us, it swam next to then under the boat twice, circling us about 5 times and disappearing off....incredible! End of day 7 the butter melted and we turned right! Yay
> Second week, I was settling into our routine and realised that we had what we had (wind and weather wise) and have to get on with it. The sun was now seriously hot and all sunshades and awnings got put up. James set up a complicated rig (in my mind), so that we could sail wing and wing quite comfortably with the wind and waves behind us. We saw Dolphins most days and lots of flying fish a few that were stiff as a board on deck in the mornings unfortunately. My days were spent reading (averaged 2 books every 3 days) and hanging legs off the stern paddling feet in the crystal blue and warm seas, whilst James as always found odd jobs, even polishing the stainless steel once he heard we were having guests (Clare). I got my new washing tub out and did a load of laundry, afterall we all want crisp fresh sheets no matter where we I, no?
> Start of the third week and not a breath of wind so had to motor for nearly 4 days, now that was quite a relief to being thrown around to begin with, but by the forth day we were both getting frustrated as we wanted to get snorkelling in Antigua. We celebrated James Birthday on 13th and stopped the boat for a refreshing skinny dip. Following day James caught and filleted a huge dorado which I cooked for dinner...very nice! During the calm, the seas were 'oily' I have never seen a dawn and sunrise like it, it really was quite surreal. Then we had a 'champagne sailing' day, and got the huge spinnaker kite up, (first and only time, despite James getting it out of the lazarette and hauling it up the bow a few times) Then we only had 2 days to go and it seemed Mother Nature wanted a bit of fun, perhaps we had it all too easy? We had lots of squalls to deal with over night which means the winds pick up considerably whipping up the sea with it and rains hard for a short time then dies away, but you have to be constantly watching the radar and be ready for them. The swells didn't seem to abate at all for the last few days making sleeping quite hard..................so at sunrise after 2880 miles and 21 days and 17 hours at sea we dropped anchor in English Harbour Antigua and I had a little tear of elation and relief that after all the talk we had only gone a done it!