Monday morning 2015.06.08:
33° 34’N, 067° 08’ W
Last night was ROUGH! We'd expected the wind to clock more to the east and increase as the low moving offshore is interacting with the high behind it. Well, it did!
Yesterday afternoon Doug, Blue Heron's owner, wanted to practice putting up the inner forestay and hoisting the staysail. A 'simulation' as he jokingly likes to call it (he's already had several of these with the generator which has been acting up. It's a 12-year old Panda model with over 16,000 hours on it! Yesterday it nearly caught fire, but that's another story...).
Oskar and Doug went to the foredeck while Tasha (Doug's other half) stayed at the helm. I've taught them to fall off onto a broad reach anytime someone goes on deck or we need to make sail changes - the apparent wind eases dramatically, and the folks on deck stay dry. It's a useful trick. Also useful is letting the autopilot steer while doing this - you absolutely cannot accidentally gybe with people on deck, and if you've got inexperienced helmspeople, the autopilot is a much safer choice.
Anyway, the staysail was hoisted rather un-eventfully, and Doug learned where to properly rig the runners. Turns out we actually needed the staysail last night, as it blew 25-30 most of the night. The boat took it all in stride, and save for the confused and annoying sea, we continued sailing fast. This morning the wind has eased a bit with the sunrise and the swell has gotten a bit more organized and smoother (though bigger now). Doug and I lowered the staysail and are sailing again under reefed mainsail and reefed genoa. We think by this evening the wind will ease some more and we'll be back to full sail for the first time in several days.
Since we turned for Bermuda many hundreds of miles ago, we've had fantastic, fast sailing, averaging over 150 miles per day and not once having to motor. Our little detour towards Charleston cost us 36 hours maybe, but it's more than paid off with the much improved sailing conditions. It's been a relief finally having a set destination in mind too - nobody really wanted to go to Charleston, but we would have if the weather forced our hand. Now we'll enjoy the last full day at sea before a welcome respite in beautiful Bermuda! Until next time...