5 June 2017

TransAtlantic - Leg One

Preparations are never finished for a passage but Milly was looking good, the pantry was overfull and Peter and I were more than ready.  Crew Randy and Michele joined us in the a.m. and by noon we had untied the lines in Stuart, Florida.  After three months in Florida, departure was overdue.
Choosing a weather window in Milly's saloon.

Randy caught a mahi mahi.  Delicious dinner on board and still some in the freezer.

Apart from three separate overnighters, Peter and I had never had crew on board for our passages.  We have found that shorter passages are harder on our bodies than longer.  Time on the seas needs to be three days or longer to get into a routine where sleep in three hour hunks doesn’t deplete.  Of course, we’re still exhausted when we get to port, no matter how long the passage but somehow the body is able to adapt a new circadian rhythm with time.
So great to be back at sea in beautiful blue water seen through the escape hatch.
Lovely sunsets with a couple of green flashes.

For the Florida to Bermuda passage we had four people to take watch.  Day watches were flexible with whoever happened to be in the cockpit on duty - we were all there most of the time.  But night watches were amazing - one 3-hour stint each!  We arrived in Bermuda more rested than we had ever been before, getting as much sleep, although broken, as we wanted.
The crew

Randy and Michele were checking out life on board a catamaran.  They seemed to enjoy the bow.

The exception was night three when we were all up, preparing and trying to avoid lightning strikes.  None of us had ever experienced a light show quite like that night.  We were often surrounded by cloud to sea strikes in near constant rhythm.  The storm cells appeared as great red blobs on our radar screen and, because of little wind, they hung on top of us for over four hours.  I had packed our oven/Faraday Cage with electronics while Peter and crew attempted to escape the blobs. 
One of the smaller blobs.  This one was 8 NM across.  Long and skinny and about to run right over us.
We spent at least two hours in one of the storm centers - when we tried to escape one side, the cell developed on that side or travelled right along with us.  When we stayed put so did the cell.  Finally, we escaped only to be caught by another.  It was quite a night and miraculous that we weren’t hit.  Never did we fear for our own safety, only Milly’s.
Our large companion on the sea.

On day watch - reading, with occasional glances at the chart and instruments.  Life is good.
In some ways, after having so much work done in Stuart, the passage was like a shakedown cruise.  We had some complaints.  Our Rolls Royce service at Hinckley resulted in a couple of motor leaks. Frustrating!  A mysterious salt water leak into our starboard hull turned out to be from water surging up our dryer vent.  Nothing serious but aggravating all the same.
Mysterious leak.  The taste test concluded salt water.

The first night we rocked along in the Gulf Stream - I won top speed that night at a consistent 12 knots, a decent wind helped along by the current. The last few days with very light wind almost on the nose, we motored.  We had anticipated the passage would take 4-6 days.  We arrived on day 8. 
Bermuda sighted.  Leg One completed.

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