We arrived in St Lucia yesterday after 15 days at sea from Grand Canaria
All went well – but weather was unusual. We had to.get through a low pressure system by leaving canaries and heading west and then north west for a few hundred miles. The weather front was dramatic – 40 knot winds, lightning and driving rain for a couple of hours. Once through that, the wind swung northerly and we had strong following winds and mixed swell all the way to the Caribbean
Winds were about force 6 or 7 from right aft the whole way. Sailing at 8 knots downwind, we still had 20 to 25 knots apparent wind. We just used the genoa and poled out the sheet on the main boom swung out wide. The mainsail stayed in its bag. 8 knots steady day after day with surfing to 10, 12 or more on every wave. The swell was confused and the choppy sea made it a bit uncomfortable. Spray everywhere. 15 days was a fast crossing.
The ARC rally left 2 weeks before us and most boats took a lot longer. Just the funny weather this year. Normally we should have sailed south to find tradewinds, then turned west. We went west to get wind and then straight-lined it south west.
Biggest problem was the wind was 180 degrees behind – so we needed to gybe every day or so and zig-zag a bit downwind to stop from rolling too badly.
Only caught one fish – but broke lures, lost them and straightened hooks. So we figured we were going too fast to fish (after we had ruined or lost most of our fishing gear). Saw a few dolphins and a couple of whales. Saw 3 ships – 2 of which would have hit us if we had not avoided! Saw no other yachts. Its a big ocean.
Big stary skies – full moon at mid trip so that was good. During day, clear blue skies with puffy white clouds. Occasional black clouds brought squalls and 5 mins of torrential rain.
Everyone enjoyed the sail – we ran 3 watches with 3 hour stints and that was fine. No sea sickness, although the behind-the-ear patches took a hit. Jane had precooked a dozen meals and so that kept us going through rough patches.
Boat behaved perfectly – nothing worse than a broken generator fan belt. No cause for any concern in the stiff weather. Thanks to Ego for his help on preparing for the trip. Very pleased I had renewed the rigging and fitted running backstays as the rig was banging a bit in the rough sea. Our hydraulic autopilot steered fine the whole way – just as well as our electric spare had a slighly slippy clutch. (I did not get this sorted before we left, Ego)
Thanks to James for keeping our log updated daily. Scroll down front page to see it. And thanks for your emails to our satphone enroute. Had a good meal ashore last night and now cleaning up boat in Rodney Bay Marina. Planning on Xmas in Marigot Bay on St Lucia. Its raining here – which was not in my plan! But it is 26degrees and should stop soon.
Wishing everyone a Happy Christmas Pictures and video to come when we get a good connection