We're In, That's Tortola
11 November 2009 | Nanny Cay, Tortola BVI
Bob, rain, thunder and warmth
We've just completed a life time experience for Alice and me. She and I have sailed together for the extent of our marriage but never sailed offshore for more than four days at a time. This trip was eight days and mother nature had some fun with us. Cold and rainy at the start in Norfolk with expectations of a very rough gulf stream passage. Well our passage was rough but not as difficult as we experienced in past Bermuda races. I was on watch early one morining and Alice came up to sit with me. That night we saw some really big mountains go buy us. I mean looking up from the cockpit of our boat and seeing the huge waves back lit by the moon, simply amazing.
The middle part of the trip was the most trying for us. 25 to 35 knot winds with ever increasing wave heights. At one point while I was steering I looked back over my shoulder after riding up one of the swells and believe me when I say I was looking down into a thirty foot hole. I was a little concerned that the boat might fall down the wave but I was able to steer along the top until it passed. Four days of essentially the same conditions gets to be abit much for us no-longer-racing-types. We didn't push the boat very hard in comparison to times when we were racing in similar conditions. We reefed both the jib and the main and we quite happy with 6 to 8 knots when we could have easily been doing 8 to 10.
We had lots of boat related experiences that all had to be figured out and worked around. We found leaks where we didn't think it was possible, but with as much water flowing over the boat after every wave water found it's way aboard. The constant rolling made even the simplest tasks into jobs.
Getting into our bunk meant timing the boat's rolls so we wouldn't slam into the wood work. Fortunately no one was hurt and nothing was broken so we did well.
Now we know more about what to expect when facing the ocean for extended days. We know we can sail quite well in 25 to 35 knot winds. We know to expect constant rollling so severe that at times you have to stay put or hold onto something with all your strength until the boat comes back. Putting on foul weather gear before going on watch at night is a real trip. Picture trying to line up your foot with your boot all-the-while you are crunching your stomach muscles to stay seated. Believe me it takes severl tries with a few ejections form the seated position in between.
We are now officially on Island Time. Jeff and Randy will be hear until the week end and then Alice and I will spend a week or so decompressing, fixing a few things and spending time together in the sun and in the water.
Thanks for all the comments on the blog, stage three now gets started. So far Alice and I are batting 1000 and feel so fortunate to look at the Google picture with all the red and yellow spots where we've stopped and are thankful for the experiences. So on to stage three and the Caribbean Islands, we're ready, really ready.