The Perfect Honeymoon

231 views  |   December 10th, 2018 

 

Saturday 8th December

We are still racing to the finish. 389 NM to go and we are neck and neck with Challenger 3. We continue to have interesting squalls rushing at us from behind: the latest measured 36 knots of true wind. Oh, how superb it is to be in this 72’ steel yacht, and not in a smaller, lighter craft!

 

Bacon and fresh rolls for breakfast this morning. Everyone is working in pairs for a day, on so-called ‘Mother Duty’, in order to feed the crew. We have eaten so well as a result. Mother Duties come round once a week, and the reward for rattling those pots and pans in ‘The Atlantic Rock n Roll Café’ is a few extra hours sleep before re-joining the opposite watch.

 

Ch4 and Ch3 separated by just 10 miles

 

Not that we want to miss out on the night watches. It is not all storm clouds. We are starting to take the Milky Way and a plethora of shooting stars for granted. They are so clear since there is no light pollution out here 350 miles from the nearest street lamp.

 

Hello U.K. We miss you, but you are missing a once in a lifetime sailing experience. Where else could you sail downwind for nearly 3000 miles?!

 

Jan and Pete.

 

 

Sunday 9th

 

Sailing across the Atlantic may not be everyone’s idea of a honeymoon but my darling husband, Marsh, convinced me that this would be the perfect one for two people who love sailing and adventure.  To be sure, we have experienced “for better and worse” in sailing (not in marriage) terms on the voyage so far but the “worse” has been more than compensated for by the better.  The worse bits are largely comprised of sleeping (or not) at odd hours, trying not to spill one’s meal whilst the boat is moving suddenly at odd angles and trying to steer a 72-foot yacht mostly on the right heading in pitch black.  In retrospect, these things aren’t so bad and are all part of off-shore sailing.  There have been far many better, dare I say romantic, bits, including a stunning night sky utterly free of light pollution with stars from horizon to horizon, dazzling meteor showers, and companionable dolphins surfing the bow wake.

 

 

Perhaps this wasn’t a traditional honeymoon choice, but this is certainly an experience we will share and look back on with a sense of accomplishment.  I wouldn’t have chosen anything different.  It’s always healthy, if not often, that a wife admits she was wrong and her husband was right but I am more than happy to do so in this case.

 

Marsh – ILYMB.  You are the Chicken of my Sea.

 

Jamaica (aka Wendy Bailey)

 

 

 

 

Sunday 9 December

Mate Kirstie’s Blog

 

So we are now very near to land and it is that time in the voyage where wacky and weird dreams are the norm.  These are shared at all times of day and night as folk arise from zombie slumbering states and walk the decks looking much the same.  Bleary eyes gleam a look of crazy and shaggy hair doo’s just add to the nightmarish scene.  Muttered caveman-like grunts turn to over excited squeaks as caffeine filled cups awake the dead.

 

The Cave

The mate’s cabin is located near the forepeak and is more of a cave than a cabin.  Various items of clothing, wash kit and a climbing harness dangle from an assortment of strings.  As the boat rocks these objects take on a life of their own, they swing wildly, sway in unison and cast eerie shadows from moonlight or torchlight penetrating the small hatch above.
As each manoeuvre is made on deck I awake, sometimes with a start, but more often than not in a semi-dreamlike state.  I assess the noises and voices, decide they are gybing the poled out yankee, that the voices are calm and that I will therefore not rush up on deck but rather wedge myself back in my bunk and sleep some more. The noises encroach on my dreams and before I know it I am on deck, fighting a gale and monstrous seas, teetering on the foredeck with the crew.  I awake with a start in the pitch black cave, I sit upright and wonder where the stars and spray have disappeared to, and did I abandon my crew to the night? Is Ricky in his bunk also? Who’s on watch anyway? The shadows sway, the rig creaks, voices rise over the night, I sit confused…and so the night passes until it’s my real turn to take to the deck and end the torture of a sleepless night.

 

Stars give way to a stormy looking dawn, squall clouds dominate the horizon and we watch as a set of white sails pass close in front.  Heading straight into a towering mass of black angry clouds the white sails are engulfed by the mountain marching towards it like the wall of a tsunami.

As our own giant runs towards us, chasing us down with a relentless and inescapable pace, we blow our poled out yankee through to the correct side, bare-chested Ricky takes the helm, (shirtless for a rinse whilst Bev and Jan wash their hair on the side deck!).  A wild ride commences.  As the visibility dwindles and the rain continues to lash at us a huge tanker looms towards us.  All three vessels begin to converge to a singular point.  A radio conversation confirms all future actions and collision avoidance.  The steaming ship charges past and is lost to the storm whilst the two sailing vessels continue to share a parallel course.

The squall has now passed and we are left with blue skies to dry us and very light and variable winds!  It looks like our optimistic guestimates of our arrival times in St Lucia are being picked off one by one!

 

Such is life at sea!
Kirstie

 

Just 50 miles to go!

 

Skipper Ricky’s Log

 

Date : 9 Dec 2018 Sunday

Time : 12:00 GMT

Position : 15 20.0 N  57 34.6 W

Position : Approaching the Carribean !

Destination : St Lucia (Rodney Bay)

ETA : Monday Dec 10 mid afternoon UT

DTF : 210 , Trip1 : 2770

24 Hour Run : 185, 24 Hour Speed : 7.7

24 Hour VMG : 169, VMG : 7

 

COG 270, SOG 8.0

TWD 081, TWS 17 (TWD in Magnetic 18W Var)

Fuel : 3 full, 1 in use

Water : 2 full, 1 in use and filling, 1 Algae tank empty

Gas : 2 full, 1 in use, 2 Empty

 

Notes and comments :

The guesswork for our finishing time is being severely compromised by some squally clouds which are twisting the wind one way and then just as you finish off, or maybe just in the middle of a gybe. Gybes are not simple processes on Challengers, but the crew are getting better and better at them, and we can get through a gybe in 10 minutes now – if only the wind would stay stable for just a little bit longer.

 

Night time gybes are my favourite and are now punctuated by “pass up a winch handle” calls from the foredeck as the poll beaks are getting stickier and stickier no matter how much silicone spray and exercising we do on the lazy poles in between gybes. Last night I managed to totally knacker the 2300 – 0300 watch with three gybes in a row, one which was only held for 10 minutes before we started the whole lengthy procedure all again.

 

Coming up on deck this morning and greeting the crew with “let’s get ready to gybe” was met with glee rather than trepidation – and so my little joke fell flat as the wind was for once stable and we were making a good course to St Lucia. Behind us is a wall of black cloud so maybe the weather will have the laugh of the day.

 

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Posted by: First Class Sailing

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