Miles 3700. Winds 25-27knots occasional gust to 34. Speed average 6 knots often 8-9 knots and once or twice 11knots. Number of times I called Huey overboard. twice too often (That last sentence will only be recognized by those who have been sea sick!)
We were enjoying the aftermath of the storm and taking things easy when a boat sailed in and they told me they were taking advantage of the gale which was coming and going to sail to St Augustine the following day. We did a quick weather check and off we went.
There is a saying to reef as soon as you think of reefing. (That is to shorten to sails to make or easier sailing ut I’m pretty sure the non sailors who read this must know that term by now!) Well a further adage I would say is to take Stugeron (Anti sea sickness pills) as soon as you know the passage would be rough. I know that now, after a day of misery mixed with wonder.
At 6pm that first night I could see signs of heavy weather ahead and we reefed our sails and I started to make one of my many delicious hot meals of Mashed potatoes, bacon and cabbage. Before we headed out I was anxious to ensure that we did not run out of gas on the way as it can be a real pain changing the gas cylinders. While we were checking the tanks I also pulled them out to see where the leak had been coming from during the storm. When I put on the gas that night while 30 miles out to sea I discovered that I must have snagged a wire on the safety valve and ‘Voila’ no gas! We had enough charge in the batteries to steam a meal. It doesn’t take a gourmet to know that steam ham and cabbage is not quite the same. I was too sick by then to care anyway.
I always remember My sister Dervla saying to Carl her husband after a day of sailing in awful weather and having to tether her to the boat as she got sick:
FUN! Carl. You call this FUN? Actually in hindsight I think she was more yelling hysterically than just saying. And that’s the strange thing about sailors. may of us do get sea sick and still love it.
Pat was commenting on how difficult it is to use the head in these lumpy seas but I decided a video would be TMI.
The following day I began to feel much better. maybe helped by the sturgeon or maybe just by the rhythm. We even had a little bird join us for a day. He would have stayed longer except his larger cousin came along and pushed him off and he then stayed for about 12 hours.
Later that night and its always before sunrise, the wind changed and I had to call Pat up early from his watch to help me. It was a frenzied ten minutes as we were both yelling to be heard above the wind and we reefed in the Genoa a bit more and I then had to tell Pat that it was his watch now and he’d better go and put some clothes on. I need to make that last statement a bit clearer. He was in sleeping gear and needed to put on his foul weather gear. It’s amazing how your conscience and concern about someone else’s comfort goes when it’s the end of your watch and you just want to hunker down.
Fortunately the moon was present until about 4 am so we got the benefit of moonlight and an hour or so of total darkness. We watched the international space station pass by and there was some bioluminessence present, occasional dolphins and I was thumped on the head by a flying fish. Very spooky thing to happen. About 20 fish landed on the boat throughout the journey.
The pictures of the ‘morning after the night before’ are similar but also considerably different to ‘mornings after night before’ in my heady youth. On the morning of our arrival I sent Brian details of where we were and when we would arrive. Brian is a wonderful friend and will always be there to help us when we need it. What I didn’t realize is that in Brian’s own inimitable way he sent out a very entertaining e mail informing everyone of our imminent arrival and Betsy Mc Gregor posted it on SYC face book.
As we were approaching George Munson bridge we were hailed on the radio by Incommunicado’. They were on the other side of the bridge with Sail Away and escorted us back to the club. Unfortunately my pictures do not do any justice to the greeting we received and really I just wanted to be in the moment. There were flags on our dock and people waving. I did have a moment of concern as I was informed to be aware there was a sunken boat outside the dock beside us and I was to be careful. I not only had to handle that but I had a mix of pure joy of the reception and absolute apprehension of the audience watching as I might mess up the entrance completely.
I was even reliably informed by the New Mayor Elect of Smyrna Beach that they arranged for the launch of the astronauts in Cape Canaveral to coincide with our arrival and lunch. Now how cool is that!