Monday, November 22, 2010

Hard windward beat back to Bequia

We stayed in the Tobago Cays an extra day in the hopes that the wind might shift a little south but we've had no such luck with the wind. Five outings now and all of them have been to windward. We're getting pretty good at this but they just aren't that fun. Unless you're racing. And this one sure tested our patience, and our reefing skills. At one point we had 25 knots of wind with gusts up to 30, right on the nose. We managed to reef in time and kept the boat between 15 and 20 degrees. It was still rocky out there and life below decks with that kind of motion and angles was pretty miserable. The seas were a couple meters high, nothing epic but more than we'd been in on this trip. I think we all agree that the boat handled all this splendidly. The other thing that we all came to agreement on was to try to avoid days like this as much as we can. They are just not any fun. And we knew it was going to be unpleasant going into this one. Nearly out of food, water and cash we just couldn't wait any more.

In the end we got through it. The wind even died right off about an hour or so before we were to reach our anchorage. We couldn't believe it but we had to motor sail the rest of the way. Nearly the complete opposite to an hour and a half earlier. Each time a wave crashed over the bow and we were heeled over until the rails were nearly in the water poor Austin was nearly in tears. And now swells, like so many leftovers, and slight ripples were all that remained.

One thing that worked quite well was how we distributed the crew this time. Aaron and Aidan were given an anti-nauseant before we left. They crashed in one of the bunks below. Aaron slept the whole way and Aidan, drowsy enough to doze most of the time, stayed with him to ensure he didn't fall out. Austin joined us in the cockpit and got to experience the full drama of the wind, sea and all the sail changes. This was a first for him. He's been the one to take the anti-nauseant and sleep below for all our other passages before. While he was quite worried a couple times he has come away with a much stronger appreciation for choosing good sailing days and for the capabilities of boat and crew.


  1. Well done Austin!! You are getting great experience and standing up to the challenge. Love, Grandpa.

  2. JM here again . . . O.M.G .... I am GRIPPING the edge of my chair, hanging on for dear life as I read this !!! What courage and maturity from Austin! Amazing, you guys! ox

  3. And now a few words from Katie/Mum/Nana . . .
    So very glad you're safely moored in Bequia. It must be starting to feel like home with all it's familiarity. And your "sailing muscles" must be getting well developed during this first month on the water. Wow, you've almost got one full month under your belts or caps or sunburns!
    Love ya,