Another Day of triple-reefing - typical sailing in the Carib

Sea Mist > Sold to New Owners July 2016
John and Cheryl Ellsworth
Fri 20 Feb 2009 01:35

18 0263 06 W

Hello from Simpson Bay Lagoon - Dutch St Martaens. Sailed north-west 91 nm today from Jolly Harbour, Antigua arriving here at about 1400….fast trip!...averaged 8.8 knots!!


What a difference from our years in the Med; we now find that in the Carib, there seems to always be far more than enough wind to sail from one island to another. It is very rare to run the engine except maneuvering in harbour…..and very rare to have full sails out…I really can’t remember a day since we got here without reefing sails to reduce sail area…reduce power…reduce heel angle…..and thereby make Sea Mist and her crew much more happy and comfortable.


Today, over the 10 hour trip, we had about 6 hours with wind (steady on direction out of the east which meant 110 degrees off the bow for our course) strength never below 27 knots…topping out at 34/35 knots. Seas ranged from 3-5 meters (up to 16-18 feet); the other four hours saw the wind range from 15 – 26 knots, most of it above 24 knots. only real difficulty was the variability of the wind strength…quite a difference in the amount of sail out at 15 -20; 20-24; 25-28 knots vs 30-35 knots ….so lots of reefing followed by letting a bit of main and yankee back out and then reefing again. And then the typical, for this winter, array of Carib showers. After having 2 or 3 nice sunny days, today saw the weather back to delivering a fair bit of rain and squalls with the trade winds otherwise blowing constant out of the east.


Friends from Toronto fly in to meet us here in St Martaens on Tuesday, Feb 24 for a week or so of life on Sea Mist. The connection point is excellent as we are anchored almost right at the end of the runway….2 minutes from the dinghy dock that services the airport. In the meantime, I am hoping to source 8 new batteries to replace my house battery bank that has become tired from all the heavy use over the last 3.5 years. I have to modify the battery box to accommodate batteries that are available here; the original equipment ones from the UK/Europe are not available here and the dimensions are sufficiently different that a rebuilding of the liner of the battery box is required.  That will keep me busy through much of the weekend.