Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Bermuda Run - Day 3

Tuesday was a rough day in just about every way. The wind almost dead astern at 25-35 knots with gusts as high as 50 knots! Although the wind-generated waves and seas were generally following us, the Gulf Stream was coming in from our starboard bow with a mind of its own to offer us wild cross-waves. All combined, we were pitching and rolling in a very chaotic manner. Roy said that in all his years at sea he's never seen such a "confused" sea.

In the photo above, you can see able seaman Pete working the helm. Although the autopilot on board is extremely good, the chaotic seas were pushing it beyond its limits and we had to hand steer the boat much of the time. You can also see at the far right of that photo that we were running the main sail with two reefs in it.

In the inset photo you can see that we were flying only a very small piece of the jib -- hauled in tight -- only to help act as a stabilizer. Even with so little sail, there was so much power in the wind behind us that we were barreling along at 12 to 15 knots!

The sailing conditions were well above my personal skill set, so although I could spell Roy or Pete for a few minutes at a time during my watches, I was unable to stand them alone and they had to do some double duty. I felt badly about not fully pulling my fair share, but in circumstances like those we faced you have to admit your limitations.

We were all working the boat so hard -- and were all sufficiently exhausted and banged around -- that we didn't take many photos, but here are a couple more to help give you the idea of the following waves and cross waves.

Conditions remained this way pretty much throughout the night, and we were each happy just to have a couple of hours to lie down in our bunks despite the impossibility of sleep. In all, Tuesday was one of those days when you can rate your experience extremely high on the "accomplishment" scale and correspondingly low on the "enjoyment" scale.

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