April 17, 2015

Our floating home with neighbors we know

Our plan is to make our way north to the Bahamas which will be our jumping off point for our sail to Chesapeake. The best time to leave Bahamas looks to be around the end of May or early June, so this is the deadline we are tracking to. The Gromits are on a similar plan as they plan on selling their boat in the Chesapeake area so we will sail together as much as possible. While at our vacation rest point we all worked out a rough plan for the next few weeks. We decided to day sail to Deshaise, Guadeloupe spend a couple nights and then day sail to Antigua and then overnight sail to St Martin for a few days and then on to BVI and the Bahamas.

The day sail to Deshaise was so cool. Most of the sail was the kind of sailing you dream about, flat waters, perfect wind, blue skies and a friend’s boat sailing beside you. The last time we sailed together was in the waters of Tahiti. Memories came flooding back as we sailed along. Of course though, what is sailing without the wind? Just when we were all getting quite comfortable with full sails and stretched out lazily in the cockpit the island wind "micro bursts" got us!

It still shocks me how much force a blast of wind can carry. My heart races and my stomach flip flops. I know we aren't in dire danger but I just want the crazy to stop in these moments. The noise of the straining sails and lines, the howling wind and the leaned over boat is really unsettling. Luckily when you are in the lee of the island these micro bursts are short lived. At one point we were sailing in front of the Gromits so we hit the burst first. Once through it we radioed them and gave them a heads up. Cornelia mentioned after that they didn't need the radio call as they saw us heel over ;-).

The Deshaise anchorage is notorious for wind. The guide book reads, "Guadeloupe acts as a windscoop. Deshaise is a vent in this system and the winds here sometimes howl in an alarming manner." Well the guide book wasn't wrong. As we made our approached the winds kept increasing and our point of sail came closer and closer to the wind. I looked at Graham with my…"wth, are we a race boat or a cruising boat look?" and of course with mixed with a heavy dose of anxiety and he finally agreed to reduce sail a bit.

Usually as you enter the bay to anchor you enter a well-protected area from wind, so the wind decreases and you take down your sails and my stress melts away. This was not the case in Deshaise. We needed to anchor in the winds in the high 20’s. This just makes the whole process more difficult as you need to drive directly into the wind and bring the boat to a stop. I was proud of myself though I managed to apply the correct amount of gas to counteract the wind beautifully and also enough gas so that when the anchor caught we didn't have a massive recoil.

Once we were snug in our spot my stress fell away. The captain and crew were also happy because wind means power. The Gromits anchored next to us and radio chattered began between the kids. A new location to explore from our floating homes with neighbors we know ;-).

1 comment:

  1. Loved reading your blog it sounds so wonderful and exciting.