Chesapeake Bound - Day 8
23 May 2014 | 495 miles east of Jacksonville
What a difference 12 hours makesÂ... Yesterday was really great. The wind was very light in the morning so we just motor sailed. Around noon the wind picked up, we turned off he motor, and enjoyed a beautiful sailing day. The wind kept getting stronger but the sailing was still easy. Just before dark we put two reefs in the main even though we didn't need to. Boy, are we glad we did. By midnight the wind was up to 20 knots and it was getting very rough. We decided to do our watches down below. It was just too wild to be on deck. At 5am we had to reef the jib (we had already rolled up the staysail earlier) because the motion was terrible. Unfortunately, Donna got sea sick again for a while. It's now 8am and the wind is 20-25 knots with very confused and big seas.
We decided to heave-to to have breakfast. As I was about to go on deck a big wave crashed into the boat a doused the cockpit with water. There was even a flying fish that came aboard with the wave. I'm glad I hadn't gone on deck 30 seconds earlier.
Normally when you tack, you turn the boat through the wind and reset the sails to go in the new direction. To heave-to you tack the same way but just leave the sails the way they are and turn the wheel into the wind and lock it. The result is that the boat stops most, if not all, of it's forward motion. We are still bouncing around a bit but it's much, much better. We went to the bathroom (which was nearly impossible while we were sailing), had a nice breakfast, checked-in to our morning radio net, did our email, and basically recovered for a while. However, in a few minutes we need to get back on course and continue towards home. The wind is supposed to die down later today. You can call this a lot of things but boring isn't one of them!
We are now 495 miles east of Jacksonville and about 450 miles from the Chesapeake Bay.