Day 19 The Final Day

Fri 12 Dec 2014 23:12
Less than 90 miles to go! At the 6 knots we are going to arrive about 9am tomorrow. Ironically this is probably the best sailing day we have had and we have been told to SLOW DOWN!
Ideally we want to arrive in the light in the morning as we have to go around the top of st Lucia and cross the line under sail, sailing into the wind.
We think it is apt that we are arriving exactly 512 years to the day in 1502 that Columbus first stepped ashore here. Saturday is a public holiday and I guess there will be lots of celebrations.
This has been one of my most memorable experiences, but man, it's a long way. Would I do it again? Not this year! It has given me an incite into ocean sailing that is a bug I might not be able to let go. We have had some severe weather, not the worst imaginable, but pretty scary at times and unless you see how a boat performs in gale force winds you don't appreciate just how sea worthy they are. But it would have to be a fairly big boat, forty foot plus for me to venture out into oceans alone.
Ripples 2 has never put a foot wrong whilst being battered from all sides by wind and waves, some nights in my cabin I have thought the hull was ripping off the boat as the fiberglass flexed under the strain, and the noise of the waves slamming into the sides only a few centimeters from your head when lying in the dark will not be forgotten in a hurry. The constant lack of sleep and need to be alert at stupid o'clock in the morning I guess does nothing to sell the experience to others.
But that is not the whole story. I have been fortunate to share this experience with a great crew, we have worked hard for each other, we have laughed, I have learnt a lot, especially about night sailing and chart work.
The ocean is beautiful, the changing weather, dawn, sunset, squalls,flat seas and huge waves, the dolphins and flying fish the one Whale that decided to woo the boat (the boat declined the offer, I wonder if it would have said no to a humpback?)
All in all I guess I have been a lucky boy, and yes, I would do it all again if I could do it with good people like Simon, John ,Luciano and Greg.