Monday, October 21, 2013

Leaving Liberty Landing

We left Jersey City at low tide.  As we made a turn to starboard out of Morris Canal, I finally got the shot I hoped for sailing in front of the Statue of Liberty.  It is so crazy where this year has taken us.

The route we plotted to Deltaville, VA was approximately 315 miles and would take about 51 hours.  We had read the offshore forecasts for Thursday and knew it would be unpleasant after midnight for about 12 hours but before and after that rough period the winds looked great and the seas favorable.  Our other option was to wait, but honestly, we were antsy and there were no three consecutive days in the next week that looked any better - so we sucked it up.  The forecasts rang true and the seas were choppy, big, and very confused.  "The seas were angry that day my friend."  We expected this and we could deal with it, but that doesn't make it fun.  Neither one of us were able to get any sleep.

Then came the noise from the backstay...what could that be?  We looked up to the top of the mast - as it swayed 10 degrees to the right, 10 degrees to the left every 5 seconds, we noticed our tricolor light (green and red light block used for navigation on sailboats) dangling by wires.  As it dangled, it took out our windex (arrow that shows direction wind is blowing from) and threatened to take out our wind instruments.  That would not be good.  We watched as a possible bill of over $1000 waited to fall.  It was only 1 am so we had about 11 more hours of this pounding, 30+ kt winds, and more dangling.  The most we could do was to pray that when it fell, it didn't hit our very pricey-to-replace solar panel or one of us in the head.  As far as navigation goes, we still had another red/green light on the bow where other boats could see us.  Kala managed through the pounding, but like us, was ready for it to end.  I reassured her, it was tough, but it wouldn't last forever.

The tricolor in fact did come crashing to the deck about 4 am, and it didn't take out anything with it - the best we could hope for.  The next night, as we turned on the bow navigation light, nothing happened.  Turns out, the waves that continually came over the bow the night before had corroded the switch and it was done.  So with no red/green nav lights, we would just have to find another way to light up the boat.  That's not within regulations, but it would work.

As the daylight broke on Friday, the wind started subsiding.  By 1pm, it was like a magic wand had been waved over the Atlantic Ocean.  The seas had decreased from about 12 ft to about 3 ft and, with only 12 kts of wind, Terrapin was still doing over 7.5 kts.  It was the flip side from the previous night.

We sailed into Chesapeake Channel in the dark at 5:30am as high tide was moving in and wind was clocking around to the south.  It was like a moving sidewalk ride the 40 miles up to Deltaville.  We had only slept about 4 hours in the last 48 but we were excited. I called my mom to check in and I heard a "humph" from the starboard stern.  All of a sudden about 8 dolphins leapt out of the water and told us it was going to be a great day.

That's kinda indicative of the sailing life, or life in general actually.  You can be in the midst of stormy weather, with no control of challenges or the environment, but if you hold on tight, the winds will turn, the sun will come back out, and the issues will subside.  As time passes, you start forgetting about all the bad and the positive prevails.  In fact, when we are on passage, I take notes of the things that have to be repaired or changed because when I get to port, I just think of all the good things.  When I look back at my list, I think "Oh yeah, I forgot about that."  I know we will have more rough times in the future, but if we hold on tight and stick together...we will be enjoying the good times and forgetting all about those little issues.

It's true...we actually left New York.

I think we earned this picture.
"Harry the Hitch Hiker".  He stayed with us for about 10 hours.  Not sure where he went - hope we don't find him in the cabin.
Thursday evening around 5pm.  Before the pounding.

That little blue dot is our position.  Makes me so happy!
Sailor dog looking like a pro.
Baxter up the mast after arriving in Deltaville, surveying the damage.  A few bolts sheared off but manageable repairs.
Our hosts on the Chesapeake.

No comments:

Post a Comment