(final night dinner)
(final night dinner)
988 nm traveled
Avg. speed 5.2 kts
150 nm to destination
Bill said it…WE ARE GALLOPING ! On a close reach for Key West 53 degrees off the wind. If this holds we will be there at 0800 hours tomorrow. I’m betting on 1200 hours. I missed the sunrise again, having pulled 3 hours at the top of the night and another three at the bottom. By 0530 hours I was cross eyed and happy to see Bill.
It is a beautiful morning, warm with partly cloudy skies. Big puffy cumulus looking like chunks of cotton 360 degrees around.
I’m steering by remote control and keeping a couple of points above Key West.
1300 hours 122nm to go
1400 hours Wind has shifted and we are on the long awaited downwind leg. Seas are down to 2 feet. Bill put up the Spinnaker rip and all.
2100 hours Full main, jib and motors running in neutral to charge the batteries. I cooked the last of the Mahi. Good…. but Bill’s was much better I could tell he thought so too. After Dinner we played some cards. I’m going to crash early we are crossing the Gulf Stream in a few hours and it’s always interesting in the Stream.
0030 It just doesn’t get any better …
Full moon and steady winds at our back. The boat is surfing along at 6 kts and there is nothing but open ocean for hundreds of miles ahead. To starboard, I can see Matthewtown glittering on the Northwestern tip of great Iguana Island. The village is about a mile across and can’t be more than 200 people. Ah well …maybe next time. I guess the same goes for Guantanamo it’s only 122nm. off my port bow… another day and maybe another Regime.
Yesterday was good, after Bill and I cobbled together a new mainsheet system we cooked dogs for lunch. I slept first, and the dreams just kept on coming, this one was about some “event at the library”, everybody seemed to know each other and were happy. Later we watched a movie and played cards. No Worries on No Rush. We talked about what to do and where to go when we get to Key West. Skipper says I get to pick the itinerary and hints that he would like to see The Dry Tortuga, he thinks there is some good snorkeling around there. I’ve seen it… but it was after a long slow sail from Marathon and nobody felt like getting into the water that day. So if he wants to keep going west after Key West…I’m good with it.
Dinner was a great beef stew made from scratch. While Bill was cooking I hung out on the bow and took pictures. The clouds parted just before sunset.
After Dinner Bill had some serious pain in his lower back. He had mentioned having Kidney stones a few years ago and the location was right. So… Bill took a Vicadin and went below. Fifteen minutes later I screwed up a wind shift and before I could get the boat straightened out he was back on deck saying the cramps had gone and he was feeling fine. I told him the problem must be menstrual and we both laughed. It was troubling… but there wasn’t anything I could do about it and I figured that if things went to hell I could set course for Guantanamo and call for help on 16. I’m sure we would have assistance in short order.
0100 hours Bill took first watch. Sea and wind is down. Learning how to use the Radar.
0245 hours. Watched movie on I-touch
0300 full moon breaks through. Seas 3 feet ….Average speed 6.5 knots
0400 hours Sea 3 feet speed 5.5 knots
0815 hours Went below at 0530 and good two good hours. We shook out the reef, wound up the Jib and popped the Spinnaker. Heading 310 at 6.5 knots. Not much in the way of sea life… one grouper hanging around a mess of jetsam and a tiny flying fish in the cockpit.
There is some blue sky on the horizon so maybe we will get some sun today. We are just about to enter the Puerto Rican Trench 25,000 feet deep.
1145 hours When I awoke from a morning nap I looked up through the hatch and spotted a rip in the spinnaker. We tried patching it with mylar tape but it did not hold.
1600 hours Rollers are getting big. Wind is abaft the beam and we are surfing along at a good clip. Bill suggested an early dinner since we had not eaten much all day.
I tried the helm for awhile. This boat is very responsive and with trailing seas it even more so….touchy.
1900 hours We just had our second equipment failure. I was below cooking stir fry chicken and Bill was on the foredeck when the auto helm alarm went off. I came up and reset it and the boat immediately jibed. I released the clutch and took over the helm. When Bill came back we discovered that the digital compass that controls the auto helm was out of sync with the magnetic compass on the pedestal. While I drove the boat Bill dug out the manual and tried to figure it out. It was a real challenge staying on course with trailing seas and big rollers…fun though! We decided to re-initialize the compass, kind of like rebooting a computer “no Joy”. This is supposed to be done on calm water not in 5 foot seas with 20 knots of wind. The computer kept aborting when the boat crested a wave and the bow swung. About his time both of us are thinking what a drag it is going to be if we have to pull shifts on the helm for the rest of the passage. It’s not a pleasant thing. Next we tried taking the sails down and doing it under power. Still “no Joy”.
I was just about to go below to find where the digital compass was mounted when Bill Suggested I check the connections at the instrument panel. I cut away the caulk, unscrewed the backplate and there was the problem. The wire had parted at the connection. Fortunately Bill had the right parts and we had it fixed in 30 minutes.
Awoke at 7 to a beautiful sunrise. Bill was doing final prep and playing Kenny Chesney at full blast. “Kissing life square on the mouth … Sailing on the sea.” I’m not going to get to see much of Puerto Rico but from what I can tell it’s sort of like southern California with a tropical climate… The people are Latino but unlike California, English seems to prevail. I wasn’t able to connect with the internet from the boat so I walked up to the marina cafe and sent a goodbye to my girls on facebook. French kissing life square on the mouth…
The latest weather model shows a front moving in from the North over the next couple of days. Our current plan is to sail North West at the best possible speed and lay up at Iguana Island until it passes. No sign of weather here, it’s dead calm in the marina.
We set out at 8:30 with light wind and had cleared the Cape Icacos by 10:00. As we were approaching the Cape a single dolphin swam by and crossed our bow, a good omen. Bill shut down the motor and we set the Jib. Looking back at Puerto Rico I can see that it has topography similar to the Virgin Islands with hills rising 3000 feet ASL rather than flat like the Bahamas. The only vessels so far have been small fishing boats. Wind is still light less than10
Over the next couple of hours the clouds built with the wind and sea. By 1300 hours I could barely see Puerto Rico only 7.5 miles to the south.
1800hours Wind has built to 22 knots … double reef in main allowed us to pick up speed.
Tuscan Bean soup for dinner. Bill is feeling poorly. Bruce Willis movie was tonight’s entertainment.