Monday, November 07, 2011

Tortola Transit - Day 6

Overnight and most of today, the sailing has been pretty frustrating. With only light wind coming from directly ahead on our desired course, we've had to tack very broadly to make any progress. Because the wind was so light, we weren't able to generate enough apparent wind over the sails to utilize the boat's usually good ability to point up.

That's sailing tech-talk for saying that we had to sail 5 miles off course for every mile we gained in our desired direction. At a speed of only about 5 mph, that means our net gain was 1 mph. Sail all day and gain only 20 miles… You could walk to Tortola faster... Ugh!

A highlight of the day, though, was when Pete caught a beautiful Wahoo on his trolling line!

As soon as the fish was on the boat, Pete artfully filleted it and we enjoyed a very tasty -- and much welcomed -- sequence of Wahoo sushi, ceviche, fish tacos and fried with rice and beans!

Late in the afternoon, the wind picked up and we were able to make some better progress despite the continued need to tack broadly. Toward sunset we were in strong winds again and had to put a reef back in the main sail. This turned out to be a lucky break for us.

As we passed through an early evening squall, we received a thorough drenching and were able to put it to good use. We all stood on deck, alternately soaping ourselves then using the runoff from the reefed main to rinse off. It wasn't much of a shower, but having spent six days constantly wet -- or at least perpetually damp -- from salty sea spray, the fresh water rain shower was a delight!

So far tonight, we've had a bit of a hassle with an electrical problem that's blacked out the boat and forced us -- among other complications -- to sail for a few hours with nothing but a compass. Once again, I have immense respect for sailors of old who didn't have any of our modern electronics. Roy and Pete have fixed the problem -- we think -- and we're hoping to make up some time overnight.

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