Tuesday 4 December, Passage Bermuda to Antigua, day 5: The last full day at sea. With the same bashing in the swell.
At midnight shift change, Glen reluctantly heads to bed. Sometimes he gets a real kick out of doing night shift. Despite the uncomfortable motion there is nothing quite like watching the white sails against a bright star lit sky. Listening to sounds of the water rushing passed the hull and wind in the rigging. Feeling the power of the yacht relentlessly surging through the water as the white foam rushes passed and off into our wake, which is glistening with phosphorescence. Somehow the whole sensation of this fast powerful sailing is enhanced at night. …. so he says. One more night to go.
But his 3 hour sleep is cut short. At 1am the wind quickly shifts 60 deg south, putting us on a course to the Bahamas! Glen resets the autohelm and trims everything to be hard on the wind, but still we are going way west of the rhum line. There must be a squall nearby effecting the air flow. So on goes the radar… or rather, it doesn’t. The plotter won’t connect to it. Hmmm seems the equipment doesn’t like this banging around either. It may just need the system rebooted, but we will not be doing that mid-passage with squalls around. Another item onto the to be fixed list.
Anyway, we don’t need the radar, it’s now raining – so yes, squall activity for sure. We brace ourselves for huge gusts. But it is not to be. Instead, the opposite. The wind dies to nothing, it rains, picks back up to 15kts, dies, rains picks up… There are several iterations like this to keep Glen extremely busy trimming sails in and out, furling in and out and even running the engine twice. Some of the rain is very heavy. Good, we needed that to wash off the salt.
Eventually by 3am we are through the squall activity and back into steady trade winds of 15-17kt with Cloudy Bay happy again at 8-9kts under slightly reefed main and genoa.
At first light we pass the 700 mile mark and a shiny desalted Cloudy Bay is revealed. Now, just how do we keep any more spray from touching her till we get there. Given we are bashing through waves again, we will just have to hope for another good shower soon after we arrive.
The sunrise happens behind clouds again, and we actually get to see the sun only a couple of hours later. These clouds have their own wind and rain showers again, and the early morning is busy trimming sails and watching rainbows.
Mid morning wind drops below 10kts. Then two hours later picks up again. We reef and unreef several times during the day as the wind plays with us just to keep us on our toes. All the time we try to keep ourselves slightly east of the rhum line.
Glen does some brave recordings from the bow, with the GoPro on the boat hook getting absolutely soaked. And once he’s finished both him and the camera go for shower.
It’s a beautiful bright day again, with clear blue sky and white puffy clouds. One could never get enough of a sky like this. There are no boats on the AIS, no plane tracks in the sky. Feels like we are alone in the middle of the sea. Or did we jump back in time a few million years. Odd that the scene here would have been the same, now or then.
It is definitely getting warmer each day. I had two sessions sunbathing today and I feel like I’m starting to get my color back after our “winter” up north 🙂 Lunch is a little more civilized than usual. Steak and salad served on the cockpit table. Though we do admit the we slowed the boat down a little, to achieve this.
After lunch sails are back in and we are roaring off again. True wind is pretty steady now at 14-16kts bang on the beam. We have full genoa and reefed main. Probably pushing a bit hard at 8-10 kts but we have the bit-between-the-teeth now, our end is in sight. It looks like we will enter the calm zone behind Barbuda around sun rise. Glen would like to stop in Bermuda for a day to chill before we do the last small leg to Antigua. But the boss really wants to get all the way to Antigua now and know we don’t have to be in these ocean swells again for as LONG as possible!
The late afternoon sun brings its usual golden light and pleasantly cooling temperatures, but the sunset itself was an uninteresting gray halo.
Mid evening the wind picks up, as forecast and is now constantly 17-21kts. When I come up for my shift we change to a more conservative rig: furling away the genoa and out with the cutter. Our speed drops to just 7kts, but we don’t want to break anything on the last miles of the journey. And my shift to midnight is uneventful. Just the continuous roaring sound of the bow crashing through the waves, the foamy water passing the hull and the wind in the rigging, mixed with the never ending motion. Oh for a horizontal quiet life again. Soon Oana, very soon now!