Passage North: Bahamas to Cape Lookout, NC

Sailboats at anchor, Allen's Cay, Abacos
Allen's Cay Anchorage
 The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday: June 13-17, 2017
We walked Hastings for the last time on Bahamian soil. We'd have stopped to contemplate how sad this was, but we were being eaten alive by a horde of hungry mosquitos, so we simply ran for our lives. 

We left the anchorage at 8AM and raised the sails. It was a beautiful day and we were making decent speeds. It's going to be an easy passage! 
Sails up on a perfect day
As the day wore on, our speed slowed to about 0 knots. It's not all bad: I used the calm seas to bake 7 layer bars. Just as I was going to bed at 8:30PM, Matt called me to help him reef the main. Why? Where did this storm come from? Why is it suddenly pouring buckets on rain through the open bedroom hatch? Why is there no rest for the wicked? As soon as we had reefed and gotten ourselves organized, the rain stopped. 

Midnight. The struggle began. On shift. Struggle to wake up. Struggle to light stove to make tea. Struggle to convince Hastings that I need him to stop blocking the fridge so I can get milk for my tea. It's literally a one hour ordeal to get tea organized, but at least there's only 2 hours of my shift left! It starts raining. Get iPad inside. Struggle to close canvas over the helm. 
Cargo Ship
 Day 2: 2.5 knots of forward progress, and pretty boring. Sure, we could head for the gulf stream and pick up that glorious free conveyor belt of the sea, but thunderstorms are just lined up over the gulf stream, and we have a large lightning attractor on board. 

At sunset, we put two reefs in the main and battened down the hatches for a storm. We got a good 35 knot downdraft. Our lazy jacks snapped and then our wind indicator stopped working. The ocean called. It says "the only easy day was yesterday". At least we are making decent speed: now up to 6 knots!
Storm cloud at sea
At 3AM, we were making 2 knots of speed. We started an engine to help us outrun a storm. It worked! Yay!

Sunrise. It's pretty amazing. It happens every day and brings great joy to all who have wondered if they will make through yet another night. 
Sunrise at sea - thank God! 
Sunrise at sea
Our 24 hour Day 2 run: 86 miles! That's just sad. 

Day 3:  We're 156 miles due east of the Florida / Georgia border. See you later, Florida! (Actually, the human eye can't see 156 miles away).
Sunset over red cargo ship at sea
Sunset over red cargo ship
Day 4. Better speeds today in the Gulf Stream, but we are paying for it: the sea feels like a washing machine. Waves come from un-anticipated directions, throwing my feeble mind off-course. After sunset, things got worse. The blackness made my feelings about the sea state even darker and I only managed 1 hour of each of my shifts. Hastings joined me on the floor of despair.  I had to get off the death bed to help Matt put reefs in the main in anticipation of yet another storm at sea. The rain came as did my tears. We chafed through our dyneema (super-strong) #2 reefing line. At least we did 160 miles today - double yesterday! 

At 3AM, I was on shift and it started raining. I hustled to get the iPad indoors. Matt woke up and started going for the helm. Crash! Running dead downwind, with no wind instrument, into a storm downdraft = crash jibe = good times. It's like parking a car at 60 mph instead of gently landing at 2mph. Something bad will come of it! We're over it. Our sailcars busted in the jibe. We pulled down the mainsail and motored with the jib up.

Day 5. A day of darkness and gloominess. It rained. We called Customs and Border Protection, but they told us it was Saturday, and they couldn't care less. Welcome to America! 
Rainy last day at sea
We made it! 100.8 tough hours at sea. MVP definitely goes to Hastings, who never complained. We had the dinghy in the water within 5 minutes of anchoring at Cape Lookout. He seemed pretty confused: wait, there's land? We're not trapped in Waterworld? We can get to land? I honestly thought we would both refuse to leave the beach, but after a long walk, we were all ready to get back to the boat. It's home, after all. 
Paws firmly planted on land! 

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  1. Have I told you that you are my heroes?

    1. Thank you! It's not easy, but it's worth it. Just as long as we're not the wind beneath your wings, that's good! We have a love/hate relationship with the wind :-)

  2. Wow, that does not sound like fun at all :-( My biggest fear is accidentally gybing the boat. It's one of the reasons I get fearful of downwind sailing. I'm always scared someone will die because the boom smacks them in the head or our mast comes down.

    1. It was like fun, only different. Getting smacked in the head or the mast coming down would indeed be a bad day. People love downwind sailing, but our boat and crew actually prefer upwind if we can get even seas. We've since spent ages getting the boat less gybe prone, I'm sure once Matt gets out of the engine room he'll write it up for us.

  3. Sunrise after a night shift is more glorious than sunrise on shore - and more rewarding as well. Those are some beautiful storm clouds! :-)

    What is worse, flying along with little sail up over boisterous seas, or waggling at 1 knot on a calm, flat sea, while the boom is banging around relentlessly and the sails are flapping?

    1. The boom banging relentlessly - the noise drives me mad and there's no forward motion reward! At least the boisterous seas hopefully mean we're getting somewhere.


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