21 17 N 43.36 W
We had a tough time with winds and seas
over last 18 hours and it is a bit better recently but still heavy some portion
of each hour. Sea Mist is taking it all in stride even when we put her through
some difficult tests when huge jumps in wind catches us with too much sail
unfurled. The tough part on the crew is moving around and being able to sleep;
if you can stay put in a spot that works for you and don’t need sleep….all
is well. We are making good time with averages back just over 8 kts per hour
after a couple of days under 8. Ian reports one more flying fish just
landed on deck. We have now had to throw several of them overboard once we see
their carcasses but this one is still flopping around.
For any Blog followers who are sailors
themselves, here is a quick recap of the sailing:
selected a Great Circle route (with 50 equal distanct waypoints)direct to
St Lucia from La Gomera; the
GC route began with a bearing of 269 M and very gradually changes/reduces over
the 2577 nm to St Lucia
finishing up with a bearing of 259 M for the final day.
not the usual route as most boats go south to Cap Verde or the vicinity of 20 N
30 W before turning west “when the butter melts”. That is a longer
route and the ARC (Atlantic Rally for Cruisers with 212 boats that left on Nov
23rd) this year had a slow, long passage for 90 % of the boats. A
very small number did what we did and came in sooner to St Lucia. We
chose the more direct route because the wind was going to there for us and we
would have fewer days at sea (say 14 rather than 18-20) which was desired
by the crew. What we didn’t count on was these very confused seas
persisting for the route.
first 800 miles was poled out wing-on-wing and no need to even touch trim or
Auto Pilot steerage as it was constant and under wind control
days of mixed –switching between pole out and broad reaching which
required a lot of deck work …. as the wind tried to decide for us which
tack we were going to be able to sustain and still head towards St Lucia.
since 1930 UTC on Dec 15th we have been broad reaching continuously
with wind ranging from 100 M – 140 M and the boat at 125 degrees off the
wind most of the time.
not mentioned the constant attention to furling; for both pole out and broad
reaching, the hydraulic Reckman furler has made the job relatively easy and our
attention to reefing “early” and “more” has kept us “unexposed”
from the aspect of the headsail; not quite the same with the in-mast hydraulic
furled main as you have to make your bets as to expected winds so that you don’t
end up with too much main unfurled when the surprises of heavy winds or
squalls/gusts present as they have so persistently on this passage, Anyway no
damage yet even though a couple of ugly unplanned gybes and need for turns into
the wind to manage a change in main sail reefing.
about this sailing jargon. The bottom line: great food/crew still speaking to
each other/enough sleep to get by and the positive pull of the Caribbean environment at the end of the rainbow. 1075 nm