A rough passage north

A lazy-ish morning while we waited for high tide gave me a chance to soak into my brain the colors from the green vegetation to the explosion of shades of blue. I tried my best to lock it into my memory banks. Around 11:30am it was go time, so off we went. Getting through the pass was smooth sailing due to our preparation checks. Whew, so much better than the white knuckle ride we had into the atoll. The wind was in a good direction and speed but fresh water was needed so for the first hour we ran the SB engine and filled up the water tank. After that is was engines off and time to let the wind do the work.

Throughout the afternoon and into evening it was a pleasant sail with large swells that just rolled the boat a bit but were not uncomfortable. Around sunset things started to change with the beginnings of bashing and awkward jerking. To reduce risk just before dinner, when the sun was still up, we went to Reef 1 on the main and swapped out the screecher for the jib. And we settled in for the night. Around 7:45pm Carl headed down to bed and I took my first watch. I was enjoying my podcast mixed with periodic checks until around 10:00pm when the wind picked up and we hit 21 knots with frequent periods of 20 knots. Our sail plan had a maximum of 24 knots, so while still safe it was getting close. I thought of waking Carl but decided to wait until his 10:30pm swap. Once he was up I explained the wind and recommended we go to Reef 2, both to hedge against increasing wind but also because it would slow the boat down which I hoped would make for a more comfortable ride. After some time to for Carl to wake up, it was decided and we took the time to talk through the steps twice so that it would be a smooth operation – big seas, pitch black, building winds, and tired minds are not a good combination. On went the life jackets, we clipped into our tethers to the boat and proceeded to make the switch like pros. The planning paid off. And with that I went to bed.

The positive, the boat slowing down was more comfortable. The negative, the excitement of changing the sails left me wide awake. This resulted in maybe 30 minutes of sleep during my just over two hour break (the sail change took 20 minutes). Blerg. Back on watch it was rougher but I ended up passing the time texting back and forth with my wife, Jean. It was crazy but around 1:30am I picked up cell signal from an island we were passing. With nearly three weeks since we had a signal I checked emails, checked on Van’s Aircraft (sadly reading they may have to file for bankruptcy), and did a social media post. I also logged into Facebook to see pictures of my wife from Halloween. Turns out she played a funny on me and dressed up as me for the Halloween walk downtown in Steamboat. She had kept it a surprise and it was a great one. Anyhow we chatted and along the way the boat curved around the island putting us in a worst angle to the waves. Double Blerg. My watch was less exciting that the last one and soon enough it was over and I was headed to bed. It took much less time to fall asleep but unfortunately the banging of waves and the associated shuttering of the boat every 30 seconds to one minute woke me up early. All told I got maybe 90 minutes of sleep. Tripled Blerg

No Comments

Leave a Comment