Sunday, March 31, 2003.
N20*30', W76*20'; Sailing E along N coast of Cuba, about 120 miles to Cabo
Thanks to all for farewell messages through Iridium SMS. I think all of them
have gotten through, even the one which had an "invalid phone number"
problem. By the way, if you do not sign the message we have to guess who is
the sender. This service seems to work great.
We left Maule Lake Marina on Sunday, March 23 and spent a couple of days on
anchor trying to sort thing out and organize the stuff. Eventually, we
raised the anchor on Tuesday afternoon, got diesel and water and few hours
later left Miami.
We had to motorsail to cross the Gulf Stream as the wind shifted to E very
soon. Then we went S to Old Bahama Channel to avoid tacking. Well, the next
two days the wind played cat-and mouse with us and we tacked quite a bit. On
Thursday evening, we got six hours of a hard blow with a thunderstorm. We
faced it with two reefs on main and under a small stay sail and it was too
much sail. It eased off soon after midnight and since then the weather has
been kind and sweet with somewhat shifty winds. Cuba, being a huge island,
tends to generate thunderstorms in the evening but they have been mostly
missing us so far.
Tuesday, April 1
N19*57'; W74*48', Southern coast of Cuba.
So much for planning. About 5 am this morning I was called up to the deck, a
bit too late, and had to rapidly start a collision avoiding maneuver. The
ship was well less than 100 yards on our bow and the weather was rotten:
blowing 35 - 40 knits, rough seas and rain. In panic, I probably handled the
helm not too gently and the quadrant broke. I jumped to the autopilot and
finished it OK, as you might have guessed by the very fact of seeing this
e-mail. When on the sea, we use the wind vane or autopilot rather then the
helm so only maneuvering in a harbor will be a problem. We'll try to get it
fixed in Jamaica or Panama. Santiago de Cuba is closer, but it is up the
wind and we are not supposed to trade with enemy.
I wanted to dispatch this update yesterday but it started blowing hard, 35 -
40 knits, late in the morning and it stayed this way until early afternoon.
Now, we have a comfortable 25 knots and we are on the lee of Cuba so the
seas are not bad. Still, we take some spray on the deck and I have to stick
my satellite phone antenna out through the hatch to do the connection. Will
wait a couple of hours, I do not like salt water in my cabin.
- Dec 2003
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