Tarja left at 11:30 to catch her flight home. Tristan arrived about 12:15 and we (mainly Tristan) did some boat work with items Tristan had brought with him. We finally left ar 13:35. As it was going to be be several hours of motoring (winds directly on the nose) Tristan caught up on his sleep as he had taken a 6am flight from Charleston. Given the benign weather conditionss we decided not to take the infamous Whale Cay Cut into the northern Abacos but rather go out into the Atlantic so we could keep going all night.
Wih little wind we had to motor and while the boat was moving at 6.5 knots through the water a current was reducing our actual progress to 3 to 4 knots for 10 to 12 hours.
We were able to sail during the day on Wednesday with the asymmetrical spinnaker. We made it to the Gulf Stream about 21:00 and turned north making often in excess of 10 knots. We became over powered with the spin up so alftrer much effort it was fueled and put below through the forward hatch where it remained on my bunk until I couldn’t taken its oil smell it had picked up from a spill in the cockpit locker. Moved it out to the floor of the main salon …. something big and tangly to trip over!
We had no cell and data communication but we had had SIRIUS weather maps and marine reports so we knew a cold front was coming through. We I was on the 23:00-02:00 with Thursday night our progress reduced to about 5 knots so I started the motor to increase our speed. On Tristan’s watch the cold front hit.
The winds went from less than 10 to sustained 30+. The wind clocked north so we were no longer able head north. The outer edges of the jib started to unravel so Tristan furled it and reduced the main sail. With no head sail and 9’ waves now hitting the boat from the NE Tristan had no choice but to turn west … if one turned east the next stop is Africa!
We had been hoping to make it to make it to Southport NC (yellow circle on map) early Saturday morning but now we needed to look for a safe inlet somewhere south to southwest of us. The marine forecast called for continuing high winds and big seas and we even considered staying out until we found that it was leading to a possible gale on Monday. From our course the best inlet was St Mary’s inlet to the Amelia River near Brunswick. This was signicantly further south than we had hoped and meant a great many miles to be covered to make it Norfolk VA where I was to meet Peter Cohrs on May 7th.
After Friday’s dawn the waves and rollers remained high but the wind dropped into the 20s. During one of my watches I noticed jib unfurling so I pulled in the furling line only to find the furler line was no longer attached. I called for Tristan and between the two of us we were able get the jib on the deck and into the forward hatch. Luckily no waves broke over the deck to flood my berth! Tristan had to cut the jib sheets off as the bowline knots were difficult to get to. For the remainder of the adventure I shared my bunk with the jib.
We spent the day be bounced by the waves in average 25 knot winds. One wave pooped us …. wave came in over the stern and hit Tristan at the wheel shoulder high. He was wearing his foulies but looked surprised/shocked nonetheless. Another wave passed in front of our bow that was at least as high as our boom. A foot below the crest off the wave 2 dolphins do e out one side and in the other. Just spectacular. Some waves really rocked the boat and twice I ended up flat on my back. Once was in the galley when I was making coffee. Although I went over the pot, thanks to gimbals and fiddles, boiled merely along.
We arrived at a marina on St Simon’s Island at 20:00 Friday and pe4fhed on their fuel dock as we would get bothered diesel and a slip assignment the next day. A quick dinner aboard and then off to bed.
3 1/4 days and 450 nautical miles