Monday 3 December, Passage Bermuda to Antigua day 4: Yet more of the bumpy tradewind ride.
At midnight Glen comes on watch and it takes all my effort to get down below to bed. Cloudy Bay is really playing the bucking-broncko to great effect tonight.
To try to make it more comfortable he furls a couple of rolls into the genoa and comes off the wind by 5deg. That seems to make us faster but certainly not more comfortable. Slowing down is the solution, but on the other hand, the faster we go the quicker this discomfort is over.
I gave up trying to sleep in the master cabin bed, as I am sliding too much. And on the saloon settee, Glen’s favorite spot, I can’t seem to find any comfortable position. It’s just too narrow and lumpy. So out comes the aft deck sun mattress and I make an improvised bed on the saloon floor. Let’s just hope Glen will not step on me when he goes to the toilet.
The rest of the night is pretty much the same: speedy and bumpy, and our 3h shifts are uneventful.
After I wake up at 9am the wind is constantly around 17kts, so decision is made: let’s rig the cutter and slow down a bit. We furl away the genoa and unfurl the cutter. It takes some time to get it to set properly; tweaking the runner tension and sheeting position. The wind often gusts to 20+kts now. Looks like we made the change just on time.
Same as yesterday, our fruits and yogurt breakfast is served on our knees. No point in setting the table, nothing will stay on it! We didn’t bother making any coffee. Too much of a trouble to go in the galley and faff to make it. And the Nespresso machine doesn’t seem to like producing at 20 deg heel – fussy little devil. It must be Italian.
Glen wakes up with a bit of a headache. It must be all this lack of physical movement and inactivity that makes us so drowsy and with achy necks and backs. But a couple of Nurofen later and a nice shower he is feeling better.
Late morning the wind drops down to 10-12kt and the cutter just doesn’t cut it anymore. It can’t keep up the speed and we don’t want to add half a day to the journey. So away it goes, genoa comes back out and speed is back up to 8kts. And with it also comes the bashing into the waves, but the motion seems no worse than it was plodding along with the cutter. And we love the 8kts that we are back to.
By midday the cockpit, with the tent, is very hot in the sun, even with the rear window removed. But if we open the sides or front window the spay will surely come in. Before we complain, we have to remind ourselves how we were shivering just over a week ago, with our heater on in Virginia! We shall hereby grant our heaters a long and extended vacation from this moment on.
Talking of spray, the whole boat is now covered in salt. In this heat the spray drys so quickly that salt is actually building up on things. Glen takes some videos and comes back quite salty himself and that is without venturing to the bow, which would actually be dangerous at the moment. We are a bit concerned that our video footage so far on this trip has been limited to angles from the safety of the stern only. We’ll have to focus on taking from the bow as we pass the lee side of Barbuda (sheltered from the waves) on Wednesday morning.
Speed is great though. So far we have averaged 7.7kts since leaving Bermuda. We just clocked 600 miles in 3 days 6 hours. Cool! Currently our ETA a is a full day earlier than we had originally thought.
By mid afternoon I am clearly feeling better as I venture onto the aft deck to catch some rays. (sun rays, Ray, not you!). But before going there I order Glen to stop any further spray on the aft deck. He had better comply!
We both feel better, and our appetite returns. Lunch is again improvised: salad prepared in the cockpit and toast prepared by Glen inside. We do dare to set the table this time (only the second time since we left Bermuda) and surprisingly we finish our meal with nothing falling from it.
Cloudy Bay is still heavily reefed, but speeding along nicely. After sunset, the wind drops and shifts a little forward of the beam, and as we can’t accept below 7kts SOG, we unfurl the genoa. Which gets us going, but also gets us bumpier, again.
Not long after, we have to reef yet again. And after a bit of settling in, Cloudy Bay gets into her groove. She seems to get upset each time we change the sail configuration, but once she accepts the situation, she just flies. So we sail into the dark night at great speed once more.
I stick with what I was saying two days ago: not feeling seasick is the greatest feeling in the world. At least while one is on a boat. Once ashore, there are other feelings that would qualify for greatest 🙂 On the cheerful note that we both feel good again, Glen sets about downloading the cameras and flick through the videos, while I do some exercises in the cockpit. Cool, huh?! The videos are better than we expected. We had fully forgotten what a huge difference sun, blue sky and blue sea made to the images. The last few videos on the east coast now seem so very grey. And the shots Glen got using the boat hook are great. So looking forward to editing this one now.
We correspond with our friend Ray who confirms our daily blogs are posting just fine. We also download weather. But frankly no point to do that now we are in the easterly trades. You could write the same forecast every day for the next 4-5 months and it would not be far wrong.
The rest of the evening is uneventful. We continue hounding across the sea at 7-9 kts like a freight train (correction: freight trains go faster than that, but it’s the no-stopping-them that we meant), spray continues to splash across the decks and the sky continues to be very stary. The motion also continues but does seem a little less violent … or are we just used to it now?