ARC Rally, Day 17

With St. Lucia just over the horizon, the MooCrew swear they can smell the pina coladas and hear the faint sounds of steel drums. These delusions are typical of sailors who have been at sea for too long.

After all the challenges of the first half of the passage, we thought that when we found the trade winds, we would have a nice easy starboard gybe the rest of the way to St. Lucia.  Once again this passage is not like it was advertised in the brochure.  The “northeast trade winds” have been oscillating between east-northeast and east-southeast for the last couple of days.  We’ve now gybed three times in an attempt to stay near the course line, with not much joy.  The sea state has been confused with three or four wave/swell patterns to toss us about and make steering (and just plain moving about) a constant challenge.

We had settled into a nice groove last evening, sailing a bit high of the course on starboard gybe.  Merima baked the little mahi-mahi we caught yesterday in a teriyaki sauce and served it with rice and a fresh vegetable stir fry.  Yes, thanks to green bags and her fastidious food management, we still have fresh fruits, vegetables and lettuce after 17 days at sea.  And we managed to find another bottle of dry white Spanish wine in the medicine locker to go with the meal.
At about 0300 this morning, a few small squalls appeared on the radar screen.  They looked more like local showers, so we just carried on with the spinnaker, sailing deep when the breeze got up a bit with no dramas.  Winds in the mid to high 20’s and large waves gave us some nice surfs, with the fastest being around 15 knots.
At 1000 hours a rather gnarly looking squall appeared on our stern quarter and we decided to get rid of the kite (before God did it for us) and let it pass by.  Winds got up to nearly 30 knots and we made excellent progress reaching with white sails for a few hours until winds abated and we could reset the kite.
Another gybe onto port and we were on course-for awhile.  The winds oscillated back to east-northeast and we were once again low on the course line. More squalls are appearing on the horizon.  Looks like there will be not much rest for us until we get to Rodney Bay Marina.
Our position at noon today was 14° 51′ north by 57° 21′ west.  Our noon to noon run was 212 miles.
By the time we finished lunch today we had less than 200 miles to run to our waypoint on the north end of St. Lucia.  We anticipate having real pina coladas in hand and actually hearing the steel band sometime tomorrow afternoon (Thursday) St. Lucia time (GMT -4).
Cheers, George, Merima, Graham, Charles, and Kurt

ARC 2010 - 8 Dec, 2010. IRC, Racing, Invitation Cruising, Oysters Only

ARC 2010 – 8 Dec, 2010. IRC, Racing, Invitation Cruising, Oysters Only

 

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