June 04, 2008

We thought of everything except for sailing....

Our heads have been so full the last month with moving, packing, getting the boat ready, dealing with problems, etc, etc, that we had not given much thought to sailing. I reminded myself as we pulled into anchor last night and my stomach was filled with doubt that, we had just learned how to sail two years ago and we had not actually sailed since last year.

So our two hour shakedown cruise on Wednesday was a good trial run and having Rick on board brought me some comfort but during this cruise it became very clear that we had better hurry up and start thinking about sailing. Artemo is fast. Right out of the gates we were doing 8.3 knots! I am going to be brutally honest. As the boat heeled, it scared the hell out of me. All of sudden, sailing was coming back to me fast and furious. I realized then that I didn't even have lifejackets on the kids. (ok, calm down mom...I put them on quickly). I also grab my own lifejacket. It was exciting but Graham could read my queues and decided to reduce the amount of sail we had up or reef. Our new friend Rick on board was a long time sailor/racer and I am pretty sure reducing sail was the last thing he wanted to do but he was a good sport. The funny thing was that even after we reduced sail, the boat was still going over 7knots. We decided to do some tacks and gibs (pardon the spelling). Didn't take me long to figure out that the helm was the place for me. Graham and Rick got the jobs of pulling on the sheets (ropes attached to the jib), etc. Alex stayed on deck the whole time. Amelia was up and down. So far (knock on wood) she has no indication of seasickness.

Now as Artemo cut through the water, going so fast, I could not help but think about all the dry rot we found and my faith in the boat was a little shaky. I worried that she wouldn't hold together or that we would be taking on water. Ok, if you got inside my head at that point, you would have had me committed.

We decided to anchor that night at Jolly Harbour, rather than dock, so we would be ready to start out the next morning. Since we hadn't got off the dock until 2pm, we didn't have time to make it back to clear customs for Guadeloupe. We decided that we would go on to English Harbour, Antigua, instead of leaving the country the next day and check out there and to be honest, we realized we needed a bit more practice before taking on the 9 hour sail across. Anchoring went pretty smoothly. Dad gave us these headsets/walkie talkies so that when Graham is up front at the anchor, I can hear him load and clear and vice versa. Now he can yell at me in stereo. Once anchored, we got out the beer, had a cheers with Rick and then dinghied him into land. Graham made it back and there we sat, the four of us on our boat in the ocean at anchor.

Graham has always said, we will learn on the first day and the second day and the third day, etc, etc. Well he was right. Alot of learning happened today. When you push yourself beyond your comfort zone, if feels strange, unsettling, like a flip floppy feeling in your stomach. I had this feeling multiplied by 10. What had I been thinking, agreeing to sail around the world? I had a lot to digest but my favourite saying came into my head at that moment, Bite off more than you can chew and then chew it!

On a side note, the insides of Artemo were good. She didn't take on any water. Things were looking up....until we found that neither of the toilets worked!

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