Half Way There

Half Way There: and several illusions go up in smoke.

I’m writing this post from Ondine at LAT 37 degrees north, LON 68 degrees west.  For those of you that don’t want to look that up (everyone, including me), I’m about half way between Manhattan and Bermuda in the middle of the Gulf Stream.

We started off slowly on Sunday morning with more things that needed to get fixed: It took the 4 of us over an hour to get the main sail up as the “bolt rope” – the leading edge of the sail that goes up the mast – kept slipping out of the track.  I’m pretty confident that lowest part of the rail is damaged.   After lots of trials and errors, we finally got going, with no wind whatsoever.

So that was my first bubble burst: I had this idea that I’d be able to fill up with diesel once and use that for six months.   It turns out that I have this tiny weather window, which amounts to no wind at the beginning, lots of wind in the middle, no wind at the end, and if I don’t get into Bermuda by Wed morning in the “no wind” section then I’ll wind up in a gale pointed in the wrong direction.  All of which means I have to motor.  And by the time we get to Bermuda I’ll be filing up with diesel again.  “Puff”.  First illusion (and $1,000) gone.

On the first night, the wind picked up to about 20 knots and Ondine did her thing.  She seemed to love the wind, picking up more and more speed and settling down to a cruising speed of between 9 and 10 knots in 15-20 knots of wind.   Over time, the wind picked up, and poor Helena (a guest on board) discovered that the movement of the boat wasn’t agreeable to her.  And in her defense it really was a little rough.  Seas were 7-10 feet high and coming from a different direction than the wind, so Ondine was pitching, yawing, see-sawing, and moving in every other direction imaginable.   This continued as the wind picked up and Ondine picked up speed.

There’s a funny thing that happens when the boat is moving all over the place.  You just don’t want to do anything.  And I’ve taken to worrying about what the trip to Antigua will be like.

Today I have two professional sailors on board, myself, + Helena.

When we sail to Antigua we will have Emma-Kate and the kids (who will probably all be sick like Helena), plus David “DavidLostToAGirl.com” Uprichard and his daughter who are complete unknowns.  But that makes it entirely possible that the entire crew will be sea-sick but me.  Which on a 5 day sail makes me VERY nervous.  Someone has to be up all the time, and I simply cannot stay awake for 5 days while everyone vomits over the side.

Poof illusion number two up in smoke: that sailing around with the family will be all fun and games.

The upside to Ondine’s performance (I shouldn’t care, BUT I DO) is that we sped past a couple of 70-80ft yachts at 11-12 knots.  I love the AIS systems we have on board, it’s like a planes transponder and it dentifies the other yachts, says how big they are, what direction they are headed and how fast they are going.

But now, two hours into the gulf stream, the wind has died, and I am finding time to write this post.

Oh: did I mention that neither the solar panels nor the wind generator are charging the batteries at the moment?  It is Sunday, so I can’t call the yard that installed them on my fancy pants sat phone.  But you can bet I will on Sunday.  I’m sure (I hope?) that it’s some silly button that I pressed or didn’t press.  But I fear something worse…

Poof: illusion #3 up in smoke: that the work I’ve had done on the boat will function smoothly.

Stay tuned….

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