Sailing Adventure

Friday 4/19/13    18:30
12 34.940 S
131 35.105 W 34.940S 131 35.105W

Blog posting by Barb:

It has been 37 days since we left Puerto Montt. Unless the wind dies down considerably we should be at our first anchorage in the Marquesas which will be the Bay of Virgins in Fatu Hiva.  It is described as the most beautiful island in the Marquesas. After 40 days at sea it will definitely be the most beautiful island to us!!
The last 2 days of sailing have been quite an adventure. Wednesday morning started out as per usual with calm seas and about 3 – 8 knots of wind. Dennis and I spent most of the day perusing through an ‘Offshore Cruising Companion’ book which he saved for me as he thought I would get a lot out of it. And I have learned a lot!! As it so happened on Wednesday we were discussing how to prepare for squalls and storms. The book described incidents of wind squalls that went from 5 to 60 knots in minutes and then back to 5 knots. I was hoping I would never have to experience that. As night fell the sky looked ominous. We could see threatening weather. Dennis thought it a good idea that we should prepare for the worst. We got everything ready to ‘snuff’ the spinnaker at a moment’s notice if we had to. And he called it just right. The squall came and the winds gusted from 5 to 30 in a minute but we had the sail down just in time. The 30 knots may not seem like much but it is with a Spinnaker that is only designed for 15 knots. We sat in the bow (with our harnesses securing us to the boat) when the driving rain started and we were drenched but the sail was safely tucked away. It all ended pretty quickly and we could hoist the Spinnaker again. We were not quite so prepared for the second squall and we had to snuff the Spinnaker through the 30 knot wind and rain. We got the sail down but not neatly packed away and we just hung on to it making sure the wind did not whip it out of our hands. When we thought it was safe we hoisted the Spinnaker again and everything was fine for a while. Suddenly there was another squall and this caught us totally off guard. Dennis had to steer through that one. The boat was heeled 45 degrees, water came in the cockpit, the Spinnaker was fully extended and the bottom was dragging and skimming through the ocean. This lasted for 3 long long long minutes! Dennis stood at the helm with the wind and rain raging all around us and he controlled the boat as best that he could while I sat in the cockpit hanging on as best I could. I wasn’t afraid for us or the boat but my concern was for the Spinnaker. There is no easy way to sail straight down wind with an average of 5 to 10 knot winds without a Spinnaker. So after surviving that squall we decided it was time to hoist the 160 jib and did so in the middle of the night in total darkness. The boat rocked and rolled, squalls continued to gust in all night and we got little or no sleep. To our dismay, the same happened Thursday night but this time we sailed through the night with the poled 160 jib fearing damage to the Spinnaker. It was a rough, rolly, squally night with little or no sleep for either one of us. So today we have napped and are ready for another night but so far the skies seem clear. But that could change very quickly!!

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One Response to Sailing Adventure

  1. Chris Summers says:

    Still reading ever since the first post back in the Lakes. These are the best! Trying to picture all these days and nights aboard. Thinking back to the time we were roughing it aboard the Independence of the Seas. Sziliva’s still out there if you remember her; The Russian with the accent, white fur boots like in the movie “Spies Like Us”. Still remember that grin on your face like it was yesterday, trying to keep from laughing so hard, hand over your mouth. Eric trying to shoot pictures when she wasn’t looking. Still have all of them. Those were the days… Someday i’d like to do something like you two are doing, but with a little more luxury. Well keep going and posting so i have something to read every week. Pictures would be great sometime soon! Moved to Denver for a little adventure of my own; sports recreation and the scenery.. Hope we cross paths again… Chris

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